The neural underpinnings of motor learning in people with neurodegenerative diseases: A scoping review

Daniel H. Aslan, Manuel E. Hernandez, Mikaela L. Frechette, Aaron T. Gephart, Isaac M. Soloveychik, Jacob J. Sosnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic progressive neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) cause mobility and cognitive impairments that disrupt quality of life. The learning of new motor skills, motor learning, is a critical component of rehabilitation efforts to counteract these chronic progressive impairments. In people with NDD, there are impairments in motor learning which appear to scale with the severity of impairment. Compensatory cortical activity plays a role in counteracting motor learning impairments in NDD. Yet, the functional and structural brain alterations associated with motor learning have not been synthesized in people with NDD. The purpose of this scoping review is to explore the neural alterations of motor learning in NDD. Thirty-five peer-reviewed original articles met the inclusion criteria. Participant demographics, motor learning results, and brain imaging results were extracted. Distinct motor learning associated compensatory processes were identified across NDD populations. Evidence from this review suggests the success of motor learning in NDD populations depends on the neural alterations and their interaction with motor learning networks, as well as the progression of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-898
Number of pages17
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Brain imaging
  • Motor learning
  • Neurodegenerative disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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