Recovery in Neuralgic Amyotrophy: an interplay between nerve damage, motor problems and the brain.

Wednesday 8 March 2023, 4:30 pm
R. Lustenhouwer
prof. dr. B.G.M. van Engelen
dr. J.T. Groothuis, dr. I.G.M. Cameron, dr. R.C.G. Helmich

Neuralgic Amyotrophy (NA) is a common nerve disorder. Damage to the nerves causes muscle weakness, which leads to motor problems, especially in the shoulders and arm. Many patients experience prolonged motor problems and other related residual complaints, such as pain and fatigue, even when the nerves and muscle strength recover. It is unclear why these complaints persist, and how to treat them best. This thesis shows that the brain is involved: motor control in the brain was different for NA patients compared to healthy volunteers. Compared to standard treatment, patients’ residual complaints were reduced after specific rehabilitation, which taught them correct motor control. Motor control in the brain improved after both specific rehabilitation and standard treatment. This shows that the brain  is able to recover from altered motor control in NA. This is an important step towards improved rehabilitation for patients with nerve and muscle disorders such as NA.

Renee Lustenhouwer (1991) completed a Bachelor Human Movement Sciences (2014) and a Research Master Cognitive Neuropsychology (2016, cum laude) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She started her PhD research at the Radboudumc and the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in 2016. As of February 2023, she works as a teacher at the department of Experimental Psychology at Utrecht University.