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Lab 8 - Higher Motor Function

Purpose:

The purpose of this laboratory exercise is to study the anatomical organization of the motor structures involved in the planning, execution, and adaptation of skilled movements. Skeletal muscles are under direct neural control of motor neurons in the anterior horn of the spinal cord and in certain brainstem nuclei. The initiation and control of voluntary movement and the regulation of posture and muscle tone involve numerous neural centers at all levels of the neuraxis, from the spinal cord to the cerebral cortex. Planning and initiating movements are thought to be mediated by cerebral cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia, and lateral parts of cerebellum. The descending pathways that are involved in the execution of these movements will be covered in Exercises 9 and 10.

Objectives:

At the end of the present exercise you should be able to:

  1. Identify motor areas within the cerebral cortex.
  2. Describe the interconnections of the cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia and related structures.
  3. Identify the cellular components of the cerebellum and its afferent and efferent connections.

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