Motor Skill Learning and Intensive Neurorehabilitation Lab (MSL-IN)


Our research group was developed following the creation of the Chair for neurophysiological evidences in intensive neurorehabilitation. We aim to investigate the optimal parameters of intensive rehabilitation for patients with brain damage. The measurement of this optimum is embodied both through functional assessments in the 3 areas of the ICF and through the measure of associated cortical changes with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion imaging (DTI) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Intensive rehabilitation: motor rehabilitation based on motor skill learning in a context of increased intensity (typically for children with cerebral palsy, 2 to 3 weeks for a total of 60 to 90 hours). In the scientific literature, most intensive interventions for children are directed to motor improvements of the upper extremities in children with unilateral impairment: Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT- unimanual) or Hand and Arm bimanual Intensive Therapy (HABIT, bimanual). Since 2011, our team has developed a new form of intensive neurorehabilitation in order to target -in the window of opportunity- both upper and lower extremities in brain-damaged patients: Hand and Arm bimanual Intensive Therapy Including Lower Extremities (HABIT-ILE).

Intensive rehabilitation and cortical plasticity: Changes induced by these intensive interventions in children's functional abilities are likely due to the cortical reorganization they elicit, the neuroplastic structure of the brain allowing to develop further some of its areas in response to the stimuli it undergoes. Different neurophysiological investigations are used in our research group to capture these cortical changes: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion imaging (DTI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Target population: intensive neurorehabilitation is proposed for pathologies generated by a brain damage. Currently our research interests are focused on cerebral palsy (CP), the leading cause of pediatric motor disability in most Western countries. CP is due to an irreversible brain lesion occurring during pregnancy, at childbirth or in the first months after birth. The consequences of this type of injury are highly variable and usually include motor disorders (walking or grasping difficulties) that have important consequences on the functional abilities of these children (daily living activities such as dressing, eating, toileting ...), thereby limiting their autonomy. Currently, treatments which have shown objectively the best opportunities to improve the functional abilities of children with CP are intensive interventions.

Ongoing projects:

In children with cerebral palsy:

  • Influence of corticospinal re-organization on plastic changes during intensive training in children with unilateral cerebral palsy
  • HABIT-ILE in children with di-tri- and quadriplegia: could they benefit from motor skill learning?
  • The role of visuo-spatial attention in the motor learning process of children with unilateral cerebral palsy (soutenu par JED-Belgique)
  • Interlimb coordination in children with unilateral cerebral palsy
  • Modifications of everyday life activities and autonomy after intensive neurorehabilitation – link with cortical modifications (soutenu par le Fonds de soutien Marguerite-Marie Delacroix)
  • Tactile Deficit and its Adaptability associated with Intensive Bimanual Therapy and Tactile Training in Children with Unilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy
  • Executive functions of children with CP
  • Feasability and effectiveness of implementing HABIT-ILE in young children (soutenu par la Fondation Marguerite-Marie Delacroix)
  • Functional, neuroplastic and biomechanical changes induced by early HABIT-ILE in pre-school children (soutenu par la Fondation Paralysie cérébrale, France)
  • Feasability and efectiveness of implementing virtual reality interfaces during intensive motor skill learning interventions (soutenu par Promobilia foundation, Sweden)

In mental health:

  • Effects of intensive training on the synaptic plasticity in the humain brain : functional neuroanatomy study
  • Effect of intensive physical exercise on mental health in young people affected by depression and anxiety


To support our projects, you can go through Fondation Louvain, by indicating as communication  « soutien rééducation intensive»


Logo Reeducation2 Reeducation3 Reeducation1