Neurology Research

Volume renderings of the globus pallidus (PGi: green; GPe: Blue), red nucleus (red), subthalamic nucleus (yellow) and substantia nigra (light blue). Note that the light purple structures which appears to lie under the green GPi's are, in fact, parts of the blue GPe's; they appear to be purple as a result of being visualized through the overlying brownish-yellow semitransparent thalami. MRI images courtesy of Dr. Noam Harel's team at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota.

Colum MacKinnon (center) with his research team, Jackie Vachon and Chiahao Lu, record muscle and brain activity in their laboratory. They hope to learn what's happening in the brains of people who have Parkinson's disease as they prepare to move and when they actually move.


Participants' gait initiation video footage and reflective markers are recorded by a Simi Motion eight-camera system.

Dr MacKinnon and his colleagues are studying the timing and intensity of auditory cues, visual cues, and vibrotactile cues in order to figure out how clinicians should teach patients to use them. Department of Neurology chair Jerrold Vitek, M.D., Ph.D., believes that MacKinnon's work stands to make a real difference in how people who suffer from Parkinson's disease address their gait freezing. “I am convinced that his work will greatly benefit patient care in the future”, Vitek says.


The Movement Disorders Laboratory uses electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain electrical activity during specific motor tasks.