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PhD defence Beorn Nijenhuis

When:Tu 13-06-2023 15:00 - 16:30
Where:The Beurs (also online)

It is possible to follow the defence online via the livestream.

The programme:

15:00 - 15:20
Beorn will give a layman's talk
15:30 - 16:30
public defense ceremony
16:30 - 18:00
reception with drinks

Thesis: Is skater's cramp a task-specific dystonia?

Skater’s cramp is a debilitating movement disorder that affects Olympic and amateur speedskaters alike, often spelling the end of their careers. Its cause is a mystery. Affected skaters will often experience a sudden jerk of their foot before placing their skate on the ice after a completed stroke causing instability and risking a fall. Many explanations for skater’s cramp have been proposed, but none of these suggestions have led to successful treatments. Based on the clinical expertise of neurologists at the UMCG, the diagnosis task-specific dystonia was proposed.

The purpose of this thesis was to further investigate this proposed diagnosis, using quantitative measures to help answer the major research question: is skater’s cramp a task-specific dystonia? In multiple experiments collecting clinical, movement, muscle, and psychometric data, results were supportive of the answer: yes. Although not definitive, this evidence is an important first step in better understanding this mysterious disorder, and may eventually lead to more informed and effective treatments for those affected.

Beorn Nijenhuis
Beorn Nijenhuis

About Beorn Nijenhuis

Beorn is a former Olympic skater and national record holder in the 1000 meters for the Netherlands. He received his BSc and MSc in neuroscience from the University of Utrecht. At the Conservatorium van Amsterdam he teaches about performance and the brain.

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