Dr Giacomo Garone from Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Italy went to the Movement Disorders Clinic, APHP – Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière and the Paris Brain Institute, Sorbonne University, Paris, France and we are delighted to share the following report:
My research experience focused on movement disorders. Because of the restrictions imposed by the Covid19 Pandemics, in accordance with my supervisors and the EPNS board I decided to switch my research from a neurogenetic to a neuroimaging project. My project focused on the study of the lateralization of motor control exploring the model of congenital mirror movements (CMM) – a rare neurogenetic disease in which affected patients cannot perform purely unilateral movements. Through a combination of different neuroimaging techniques, including structural and functional neuroimaging, we focused on several different axis. First, we explored the effect of CMM on the shape of the central sulcus, which hosts the primary motor cortex and is known to play a role in the abnormal motor control in CMM. Secondly, we investigated the somatotopy of the normal and the abnormal mirror movements along the motor system, focusing on the primary motor cortex and the cerebellum. Finally, we explored the contribution of the cerebellum to the production of unilateral movements, exploring its connectivity with other brain regions during unilateral and bilateral motor tasks, in both patients and healthy subjects. Meanwhile, I attended part-time the Pitié-Salpêtrière movement disorders clinic. The Salpêtrière Team has a deep and longstanding expertise in all fields of movement disorders, and I had the chance to attend different clinics, including botulinum toxin injections for dystonic patients, the deep brain stimulation service and the multidisciplinary paediatric movement disorder team.