2012 Symposium Guest Speakers
Vincent P. Clark, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of New Mexico
Dr. Clark and his associates use a variety of tools to investigate the relationship between mind and brain. He is the Founding Director of the newly built Clinical Neuroscience Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico (psych.unm.edu), and is an Editor for NeuroImage, the most highly cited journal in the field of neuroimaging (www.journals.elsevier.com/neuroimage). Before this he was the Scientific Director of the MIND Institute and Research Network (www.MRN.org). His most important occupation is that of being a father for his 11 year old son, who was diagnosed with a pain and movement syndrome two years ago. This started him on a journey to find new ways to help him and others like him. He employs structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), event-related potentials (ERPs) and methods of transcranial brain stimulation, including transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to examine human brain structure and function. Using these tools, he is investigating the basic principles of brain organization in healthy individuals, and the neural basis of brain disorders, mental illness and movement disorders.
Brief Summary of Presentation
The origins of spasmodic torticollis and other movement disorders continues to be a mystery. Without a good explanation for its mechanisms, designing safe and effective treatments is difficult. Recently, Anthony Sims, DDS and Vernon Stack, DDS have found that certain oral orthotics, when properly used, can reduce or eliminate many symptoms of motor illness. Using this “Neurocranio Vertical Distractor,”they have found positive results for many patients. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CgF71aVzZM for a description of this method and its remarkable results. In collaboration with Dr. Mark Cooper from the University of Washington, Dr. Clark is currently looking at the effects of these orthotics on brain function. Preliminary results suggest that they alter brain networks involving the cerebellum, which is a locus for motor control. These studies may help us to understand the causes of spasmodic torticollis, support the use of oral orthotics for treating movement disorders, and may also help us to develop improved methods of treatment for these disorders.