Date and Venue

Date 08:30am-12:30pm (EDT), July 18 2020
Venue To be announced (Virtual Conference).


Please register here.
You can choose “Pre-Conference workshops only” in Registration Category if you only want to join workshop.


With coming of a super-aging society, we are facing the urgent
problems of sensory-motor impairments and declining higher-order brain functions. All of these problems have a common source: inability to adapt appropriately to a brain-body system changed with aging and impairments.

The human body has a high degree of redundancy. In light of such facts, we believe that clarifying the brain’s “hyper-adaptability” may resolve the abovementioned issues.
In this workshop, we aim to elucidate the neural and computational principles of hyper-adaptability in which the brain manages impairment of brain functions by linking neuroscience with systems engineering in order to understand acute impairments and the principle of frailty.

We expect to have not only engineers, but also biologists, clinicians, and neuroscientists who are interested in the phenomana of “hyper-adaptability” and to discuss about related research topics and future direction.


08:30am-08:50am Talk1: Prof. Jun OTA (The University of Tokyo)
“Science of hyper-adaptability: An Overview”
08:50am-09:25am Talk2: Prof. Yoshikatsu Hayashi (University of Reading)
“Temporal structure in haptic interactions and perspective of mutual motor learning for skill transfer”
09:25am-10:00am Talk3: Prof. Kaoru Takakusaki (Asahikawa Medical University)
“Possible pathophysiological mechanisms of postural disturbances in Parkinson’s disease with special reference to the dysfunction of the cholinergic and monoaminergic systems acting on descending brainstem-spinal cord pathways “
10:00am-10:15am Break
10:15am-10:40am Talk4: Prof. Ryosuke Chiba (Asahikawa Medical University)
“Postural Control Modelling on Dual Task for Elder and Parkinson’s Disease to Insight Hyper-Adaptation”
10:40am-11:15am Talk5: Prof. Shouhei Shirafuji (The University of Tokyo)
“Hign-density surface electromyography for the acquisition of activity of forearm muscles”
11:15am-11:50am Talk6: Prof. Qi An (Kyushu University)
“Muscle Synergy Reflects Hyper-Adaptation in Motor Recovery of Post-stroke Patients”



Title: Science of hyper-adaptability: An Overview
Speaker: Prof. Jun Ota (The University of Tokyo)
Hyper-adaptability can be described as follows: “Capacity of central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to manage impairment of sensory, motor and cognitive functions including ageing-related ones, by reactivating and recruiting pre-existing, latent but available network with being implemented by new computational principles and practical functions.” In order to clarify the mechanism of the hyper-adaptability and to construct the science of hyper-adaptability, we are conducting a new project named “Hyper-adaptability for overcoming body-brain dysfunction: Integrated empirical and system theoretical approaches” as Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas in Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan from 2019 to 2014. We apply an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the mathematical modeling technology of systems engineering with neuroscience. We adopt two new analytical approaches: (a) Robotic-interventional neuroscience, i.e. combinatory use of well-controlled robotic technologies and biological approaches of viral vector, optogenetics, chemogenetics and brain stimulation. This allows verification of cause-effect relationship of neural activity and its generated functions and behaviors. (b) Function-oriented neural encoding, which constitutes a model that may incorporate any knowledge of brain functions into gray-box modeling or hypothesizes the structure of a model based on statistical methods. In this talk, the overview of the project and that of “science of hyper-adaptability” are presented.


Title: Temporal structure in haptic interactions and perspective of mutual motor learning for skill transfer
Speaker: Prof. Yoshikatsu Hayashi (University of Reading)
Haptic communication between humans plays an important role in adapting to other members of society. Although this form of communication is ubiquitous at all levels of society and of human training and development, little is known about how synchronized coordination of motion between two persons leads to higher-order cognitive functions used in communication. In this study, we developed a novel experimental paradigm of a coin-collecting task in which participants used their hands to control a rod to jointly collect the coins on the screen. We characterized the haptic interactions between paired participants while they were taking part in a cooperative task. Identifying the haptic states in carrying a rod together under the goal oriented task, we found the temporal patterns, which has a long-range time correlation. This indicates one form of communication between two humans to achieve a task together.

On the other hand, skill transfer from expert to novice has been discussed in terms of dual instatbility where novice needs to learn dynamics of expert and unknown environment. From the perspective of mutual motor learning, we hypothesize that adaptability to others is a key to learn a new skill set. Using the goal oriented task, we found the interplay of adaptability to others and mutual skill transfer; how adaptability to others can play a role in mutually learning the environmental dynamics, matching a skill set.


Title: Possible pathophysiological mechanisms of postural disturbances in Parkinson’s disease with special reference to the dysfunction of the cholinergic and monoaminergic systems acting on descending brainstem-spinal cord pathways
Speaker: Prof. Kaoru Takakusaki (Asahikawa Medical University)
Falls in elder persons are serious worldwide problems. Parkinson’s disease (PD), which is one of neurodegenerative disorders, has the largest number of patients after Alzheimer’s disease in elders. In addition to the degeneration of the midbrain dopamine neurons, brainstem cholinergic neurons, particularly those in the pedunculopontine nucleus, were seriously damaged in PD, and they are considered to be primarily responsible for falling. Because basic neural structures involved in fundamental postural control, such as regulation of postural muscle tone and postural reflexes, are located in the brainstem and spinal cord, substantial clinical evidences have not been demonstrated how these cholinergic neurons contributed to postural control by acting on the descending brainstem-spinal cord pathways. To understand the above issue, we tried to answer following questions based on findings in animal experimentation. First, how descending brainstem-spinal cord pathways contribute to upright posture. Second, how brainstem cholinergic neurons control posture and movements. Third, how damages in brainstem cholinergic neurons are involved in postural disturbances. Finally, we discuss pathophysiological mechanisms of postural disturbances in PD.


Title: Postural Control Modelling on Dual Task for Elder and Parkinson’s Disease to Insight Hyper-Adaptation
Speaker: Prof. Ryosuke Chiba (Asahikawa Medical University)
In order to understand a mechanism of “hyper-adaptation”, it is necessary to identify how the neural networks alter by aging and neurological diseases, and to find its problems. “Hyper-adaptation” will be a solution of the problem. We consider the difference in motor function between healthy young people, healthy elderly and patients with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, we focused on the functional differences in dual tasks, which have attracted attention in recent years. Especially, we focus on postural control task and cognitive task of calculating.

As phenomena, various results have been reported. However, very few researches have mentioned specific alterations in internal parameters. Therefore, in this research, we purpose to find to the differences in the parameters of healthy young people, healthy elderly people, and Parkinson’s disease patients by computational modeling.

For the construction a constructive computational model, we have constructed a gray box model of postural control which includes physiological knowledge, and have verified its validities. In the concrete, we introduce the vestibulospinal tract and reticulospinal tract into the controller. The enhancement and inhibition of muscle tone can be represented by the system. We can simulate and/or optimize the postural controller with a musculoskeletal model of 70 or more muscles.

Here, we will introduce an outline of the proposed constructive computational modeling approach and a part of the results.


Title: Hign-density surface electromyography for the acquisition of activity of forearm muscles
Speaker: Prof. Shouhei Shirafuji (The University of Tokyo)
Non-invasive measurement method for biosignal is an essential technology to directly capture the physiological phenomena inside our body or verify the hypothetical phenomena by the measured signals through the model. In particular, for understanding the relationship between the brain and motor functions, muscle activity estimated by surface electromyography (sEMG) gives us insights into how our brain controls the muscles and adapts to the musculoskeletal system in a non-invasive manner. In this talk, we will introduce our attempt to obtain individual muscle activity in the human forearm using high-density sEMG. Although the human hand and arm show the motor adaptation for various impairments, usually, it is hard to know related muscle activity because of the complex structure composed of many muscles. The variance in signal between adjacent electrodes of the high-density sEMG reflects the muscle anatomy. We have tackled the problem of reconstructing individual muscles’ activity from that correspondence between the variance of measured signal and the muscle anatomy. We will show the developed high-density electrodes for sEMG, our proposed method for muscle activity reconstruction using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and our on-going work.


Title: Muscle Synergy Reflects Hyper-Adaptation in Motor Recovery of Post-stroke Patients
Speaker: Prof. Qi An (Kyushu University)
Recently many elderly people including stroke survivors suffer from motor impairment. In this talk, I will firstly introduce the idea of muscle synergy, which suggests that humans do not control individual muscle, but they control synchronized muscle activation called muscle synergy. Using this concept, our analysis showed that four muscle synergies could successfully explain human sit-to-stand motion. Furthermore, our recent study also showed that stroke people could still utilize four muscle synergies but they change activation timing of them to realize different strategies of human sit-to-stand motion. When we measured 33 post-stroke patients and applied machine-learning techniques to these data, it shows that temporal features of muscle synergies could reflect motor severity of them. Interestingly, we also found that in rehabilitation the post-stoke patients recover their motor ability in a different process. In this talk, I would like to discuss how we could apply muscle synergy to evaluate motor performance of post-stroke patients and develop tailor-made rehabilitation for them.