Call for graduate student (Ph. D.) position in neurosciences in postural control in visuo and visuo-motor tasks

Title (English): Benefits of precise visual tasks and laser pointing tasks to improve postural control in patients with Charcot-marie Tooth

Abstract: Patients with Charcot-Marie Tooth (CMT) are unstable upright as a consequence of their peripheral neuropathy. Postural instability is problematic for everyday activities because it is directly linked to higher risk of falls and falls are a major societal problem at the physical level (injuries), at the psychological level (threat to fall again) as well as at the financial level (health care systems). The Ph. D. project’s main objective will be to test the stabilizing power of performing two sorts of visual task (precise visual tasks and pointing laser tasks) on patients with CMT and healthy controls. In the literature reports, is well-known that the realization of precise visual tasks and pointing laser tasks is beneficial to improve postural stability in healthy, young adults. In main objective we will test the stabilizing power of two visual tasks on CMT patients and their controls. This investigation has never been done in the literature. Patients with CMT et healthy controls will perform 3 studies. They will be standing on a force platform and will wear three markers (Polhemus motion system) located at the head, upper back, lower back levels and an eye tracker (glasses). We will measure kinematic eye and body movements task performance and the level of difficulty to perform the tasks. The visual tasks will consist of i) maintaining a laser light as best as possible within a central target located in front of the participants on a wall (study n°1); ii) localizing targets on pictures as best as possible (study n°2). Patients with CMT should improve their postural stability more than healthy controls thanks to these visual tasks. In study n°3, we will study the stabilizing effects of the combination of these two tasks (secondary objective n°1). We will expect that pointing a laser within a target and localizing targets within images simultaneously should better stabilize patients with CMT and controls than the realization of both tasks separately. In our secondary objective n°2, we will study 1) if healthy controls get better visuo-motor performances than patients with CMT in the three studies and 2) if performances of patients are closer to the controls’ ones in study n°3 than in studies n°1 and n°2, thus showing the benetits of adding these tasks. Our project will allow – we hope – to discuss new therapeutic perspectives for patients with CMT with respect to visual tasks with/without pointing. During this Ph. D., the doctorate fellow will interact with two neurologists at the regional hospital of Lille (CHRU), one professor of rehabilitation (CHRU) and one American colleague. The experimental setup is ready for an optimal use. This Ph. D. is not financed today but our objective (you and I) is to propose this project to the Bio-santé doctoral school of the University of Lille and to get the financial support for this thesis. All studies will be financed for their realization (already paid engineer, participants, materials, experimental room). For more information, please contact me and visit my website. Please. If you would like to discuss another Ph. D. project with me, in relation to postural stability and vision, please contact me also to discuss this opportunity.

Ph.D. director: Dr. Cédrick Bonnet CR1 CNRS, SCALab (Laboratoire de Science Cognitive et Affective), University of Lille;  ;