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Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
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January 27, 2020
Sony Researcher Wins the Klein-Vogelbach Prize
Paper on pathophysiology of musicians' dystonia becomes first Japanese winner

Tokyo, Japan - Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO Hiroaki Kitano; hereinafter referred to as Sony CSL) announced today that Dr. Shinichi Furuya, a researcher at Sony CSL, was awarded the internationally prestigious Susanne Klein-Vogelbach-Prize for the Research of Human Movement 2019 for his work in movement science.

Established in 1999 in Switzerland and named after Susanne Klein-Vogelbach (1909-1996), who developed the FBL concept of functional kinetics, the prize recognizes researchers in the field of movement science and is considered a highly prestigious international award in this field. The prize reviews scientific papers published within the last two years to select outstanding works. Research published in academic journals such as Science, Nature, and The Lancet have been awarded in the past.

In the most recent review Dr. Furuya was awarded for his paper compiling the results of the research conducted by Dr. Furuya and his team on the pathophysiology of focal dystonia in musicians (i.e. musicians’ dystonia), which combines machine learning with noninvasive brain stimulation and body movement measurement. This is the first time a Japanese person has won this prize.

Musicians' dystonia is a neurological disorder that is triggered by excessive practice, and results in unintentional movements, which in turn disrupt their performance. The neural mechanism of this disorder was previously unknown, but by identifying the correlation between results of noninvasive brain stimulation and the results of motion analysis via machine learning, it become clear that reduced agility and accuracy of the finger motions are associated with elevated excitability and reduced inhibition of the motor cortex, respectively.

Klein-Vogelbach Prize Recipients:

*The Journal of Physiology: A peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1878, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of The Physiological Society. It is the most-cited journal in the field of physiology.

2019 Recipient:
Dr. Furuya, Shinichi, Tokyo, Japan

Paper:"Aberrant cortical excitability reflects the loss of hand dexterity in musician's dystonia"
Shinichi Furuya, Kazumasa Uehara, Takashi Sakamoto and Takashi Hanakawa

The Journal of Physiology
2018 Jun 15; 596(12): 2397-2411.

The Journal of Physiology: A peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1878, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of The Physiological Society. It is the most-cited journal in the field of physiology.

Charts from the paper © 2018 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2018 The Physiological Society

Dr. Furuya has been conducting research at Sony CSL since 2017 to elucidate the functions of the body and brain of musicians and develop optimal training methods to help musicians achieve sustainable creative productivity across a variety of musical expressions. Musicians typically practice tens of thousands of hours from childhood, but most of their practice and teaching methods are still based on the rule of thumb approach. For this reason, it very often happens that musicians are unable to fully express what they intend, and their bodies can even get hurt in the process of performing.

Dr. Furuya has been working with the goal of scientifically establishing the optimal method to connect the imagination of musicians to their creative output, thereby helping to ensure that culture continues to evolve in the world.

Dr. Furuya had this to say: "I started to study local dystonia in musicians when I worked at the Institute of Music Physiology and Musician's Medicine at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. It is thanks to the support of my co-researchers since then that I have been able to win this prize. Starting this year, Sony CSL and the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media have agreed to work together to protect the health of musicians and support their proficiency, working together on circular research that seamlessly cycles research and development and social implementation. While deepening international cooperation, we will work to greatly accelerate integrated dynaformics research* for musicians."

* Dynaformics research:

Sony CSL is committed to creating new research areas, research paradigms, new technologies and new businesses, and continues to work to contribute to humanity and society.

Media inquiries:Corporate Communications, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.