Presentation by Dr. Delphine Dellacheire
Let’s dance: cerebellum and rhythm in children with developmental anomalies
Abstract: The cerebellum plays an important role in music perception and temporal cognition, including sensorimotor synchronization, critical for motor and cognitive development. Moreover, sensorimotor learning, which is critical in a child’s development, depends on the cerebellum. Developmental Cerebellar Anomalies (DCA) are rare dysfunctions of the cerebellum in relation to genetic pathologies and/or congenital malformations that affect motor and cognitive skills. In these pathologies, cerebellar dysfunction leads to visible and documented clinical symptoms such as freezing, imbalance, and slowing in gait, speech, ocular pursuit and graphism as well as other cognitive and affective symptoms that are still today underspecified in clinical care, including musical and timing deficits. Moreover, despite the cerebellum’s neuroplasticity, specific remediation strategies to compensate cerebellar dysfunction are lacking. To fill this gap, we used dance as a remediation tool for cerebellar dysfunction. Dance is a full-body, collective, motivating and rhythmic activity that stimulates the sensorimotor neuronal circuitry (e.i, cerebellum, basal ganglia, motor and pre-motor cortices) and has already been used to improve rhythm and cognition in children and adults (e.g., ADHD, Parkinson’s disease). The presentation will focus on the preliminary data of our laboratory describing musical and rhythmic abilities in children with DCA and improvement of their skills after two months dance training, possible effect of the stimulation of cerebello-cortical connections and compensation via cortico-basal loops (basal ganglia) through sensorimotor training. Transfer effects on executive functions and social skills will be discussed. These findings pave the way to innovative intervention strategies for children with neurodevelopmental disorders based on dance.
Bio: Delphine Dellacherie obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Lille (France) under the supervision of Prof. Séverine Samson in 2009. She is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Lille since 2013. She is also a neuropsychologist in the neuropediatric unit of the CHU of Lille at the “Centre National de Référence des Maladies et anomalies congénitales du Cervelet” (CRMR Troubles du cervelet) since 2010. Her research focuses on the cerebellum and child development with a focus on music, timing and neurodevelopmental pathologies. Her research is funded by the “Fondation Maladies Rares”.