RCBB Research Seminar Series Talk - Dr Ken Valyear (Bangor University)
Changes in the functional organisation of somatosensory cortex following surgical repair of the major nerves of the handThis event has already taken place.
In this RCBB Research Seminar Series talk, Dr Ken Valyear (Bangor University) will present his current research under the title "Changes in the functional organisation of somatosensory cortex following surgical repair of the major nerves of the hand".
Abstract: Our hands are the primary instruments by which we interact with the world, empowered by the nerves that bring to life our experience of touch, temperature, and pain. Injuries to the nerves of the hand are common, with significant and longstanding personal and societal costs. When hand-nerve injury happens in adulthood, impairments persist indefinitely. Nerve trauma is also known to change the brain, yet our understanding of these changes and their significance for patient recovery is poor. In this talk, I share findings from an ongoing project that aims to address these gaps in understanding. The project involves fMRI and behavioural testing of patients who have experienced traumatic lacerations and undergone surgical repairs of either or both the ulnar or median nerve(s). Our findings reveal significant changes in the spatial arrangement of digit responses in primary somatosensory cortex, consistent with predictions from animal models. Comparison of these measures against various markers of functional recovery reveals no clear relationships, however. Altogether, our data provide new understanding of the human brain’s capacity to reorganise following peripheral nerve injuries, yet how brain changes relate to patient functional recovery remains unclear.
If you have any queries, please contact Valentina Cazzato or Michael Richter.