Understanding Sleep Disorders: Call for Papers on Cutting-Edge Neuroepidemiology Research

We interviewed the Publication Manager and Karger’s Liaison for Researcher Engagement and Recognition, Teresa Mathews, PhD to provide an overview of how we are expanding our Latest in Sleep Research Collection and how you can contribute to the call for papers. Here you can learn more about contributing to our cutting-edge collection of scientific discoveries on sleep.

Sleep disorders are significant for all neurologists and currently a prominent subject in research circles and conferences. Progress in understanding the influence of sleep on health and disease, diagnostics and treatment is widespread and comes from a broad range of medical fields. You can explore how diverse this subject is in our multi-journal collection “Latest in Sleep Research”.

Our internationally recognized and peer-reviewed collection spans topics from sleep quality to sleep disorders, covering a variety of sleep-related conditions and inquiries into the role sleep plays in our overall health. At Karger, we make navigating this complex subject effective and easy while maintaining the full scope and integrity of researchers’ insights.

The intricate connection between sleep and brain pathologies, including neuroepidemiological aspects around the topic, is commonly overlooked. Aiming to bridge this gap, the Karger journal Neuroepidemiology, with the support of the internationally recognized experts Dr. Elisa Baldin (IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna) and Dr. Ambra Stefani (Medical University of Innsbruck) launched a call for papers on the “Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology”.

Can you provide a brief introduction to the Neuroepidemiology journal?

Neuroepidemiology is the only internationally recognized peer-reviewed periodical dedicated to descriptive, analytical, and experimental studies in the epidemiology of neurological diseases. The journal is led by Prof. Valery L. Feigin (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand) since 2007, and it celebrated 40 years in 2022.

What motivated the launch of the call for papers titled ‘Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology’? How did the collaboration with Prof. Elisa Baldin and Prof. Ambra Stefani start?

Last year, I attended the EAN (European Academy of Neurology) congress in Vienna and had the opportunity to listen to Prof. Elisa Baldin’s talk on Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology.
Dr. Elisa Baldin joined Neuroepidemiology’s Board in September 2020, and has right from the start been a very engaged member. I was inspired by Dr. Baldin’s talk and after discussing with Prof. Feigin, we approached her about highlighting this important topic in the journal via a call for papers for a dedicated article collection entitled Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology.

What types of articles and topics is Neuroepidemiology looking to add to the collection?

We are accepting reviews, systematic reviews, brief reports, and research articles with a focus on Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology.

Why should one contribute to the Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology Article collection in Neuroepidemiology?

Our Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology collection is an opportunity to highlight an author’s expertise in this field. Contributing to a collection increases the visibility of an author’s work as the papers are showcased in a special landing page side by side to the works of further experts. Article collections are included in special campaigns and distributed to a larger audience via target mailings and social media communications.

How will submissions be evaluated and reviewed?

All manuscripts submitted to this call are to be peer reviewed. After the checks performed by the editorial office, the manuscripts are checked by the Editor-in-Chief for the manuscript scope. Then, the manuscripts are assigned to one of the guest editors who will handle the peer review by inviting independent reviewers with relevant expertise to evaluate the manuscripts and writing recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief regarding the suitability for publication of the manuscripts. Only manuscripts that are successful in the peer review will be published in the journal.

What can authors do to ensure their submissions are considered?

Authors wanting to submit should carefully read the call for papers’ instructions. We kindly request that the authors use the respective article templates to optimize the chances of success at the editorial office checks and to allow manuscripts to be sent to peer-review as quickly as possible.

Important: Authors should mention the call for papers in their cover letter and choose the call for paper Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders in Neurology during the submission. Otherwise, the probability that the submission is included in the collection’s landing page is very low.

Why choose a Karger journal and what sets us apart?

Connecting people and science since 1890, Karger is a pioneer in peer-reviewed publishing in health sciences and has built a reputable portfolio of more than 100 medical journals and 9,000 books. Today, Karger is a leader in providing health sciences publishing and engagement that spans the entire cycle of knowledge. Karger provides reliable and tailored approaches, bringing health sciences to life. With its broad range of products and services, Karger helps authors to publish research papers, and supports organizations to disseminate their scientific findings to a wide audience, engaging with the research community.
Neuroepidemiology is a hybrid journal, meaning one can choose to either publish under the subscription model or choose to publish their paper with an Open Access license via Karger Publisher’s Author’s Choice™ service.
Corresponding authors, can check their eligibility to publish Open Access articles at no or reduced cost if they are associated with or employed by one of these universities.

What’s the deadline and where can one submit?

The call for papers has been extended and authors should submit their work by December 20th, 2023, through this Call for Papers page.

The first papers for this collection have been already published.



Teresa is a Publication Manager with the Editorial Development team and manages several journals, mostly from Karger’s Neurology and Neurosciences portfolio. She is also Karger’s Liaison for Researcher Engagement and Recognition, and co-leader of the internal task force dedicated to value outstanding published research, the work of reviewers and the leadership of the Karger editors. Outside of work she enjoys reading and learning how to play the piano.

Luckily, the Composer Schumann Knew Nothing About Bionic Gloves

After twenty years, the famous Maestro João Carlos Martins is finally able to play piano again, thanks to modern technology. In his case, it was a pair of bionic gloves that helped his fingers tickle the ivories after such a long break. What hindered his playing was focal dystonia, the loss of control over long-practiced fine motor movements. It is a common illness of professional musicians. In celebration of Maestro Martins’ comeback concert, we talked with Prof. Dr. Eckart Altenmüller about how his research resulted in today’s treatment of focal dystonia, his thoughts on bionic gloves, and what composer Robert Schumann and Maestro Martins have in common.

What is focal dystonia, also often called musician dystonia?

Focal dystonia is the loss of control over long-practiced fine motor movements. The term ‘focal’ means that it usually affects only one limb, for example, the left or the right hand; and dystonia means abnormal muscle movement. For musicians it often occurs at the peak of their career, when arbitrary movements such as fine coordinated movements on the instrument are disturbed.

How do you get the disease?

There is a strong connection with the length of practicing time: how much time and how many years you spent practicing, repeating the same movements over and over. Other risk factors are, for example, a history of chronic pain, starting late in life with practicing, or genetic factors such as family members who suffer from Parkinson’s or something similar.

Is there a cure?

This is a learned disease that can be unlearned. It is a matter of disturbed neuronal networks. They are malleable, they are adaptable. Although the movements are different after recovering from dystonia, the symptoms can be alleviated and you can modify your repertoire in such a way that you can still make music at the highest level. This is part of the rehabilitation process.

For Maestro Martins help came in form of bionic gloves. They helped him play again. How do they work?

There are two effects. The first is the so-called sensory trick. All movements are tied to feelings in the hand. If I change the feelings in the hand, I usually change the movement for the better. The second effect is that the gloves can counteract the cramping tendency and the involuntary retraction of fingers, in addition to relieving the muscles of the forearm.

Maestro João Carlos Martins

Bionic gloves have two effects – the sensory trick and counteracting the cramping tendency. (photo credit: Jean-Claude Kuner)

So bionic gloves are doing the magic trick?

No, they are still being developed. They are not yet able to handle highly complex, very fast finger movements like trilling accurately down to the millisecond. It has brought Maestro Martins a certain relief, but you can see clearly that he does not have his former virtuosity.

So why are the bionic gloves from Maestro Martins are getting so much attention?

Maestro Martins has a very honorable motivation in promoting his story. He wants to improve the lives of professional musicians. Focal dystonia is the most frequent occupational hazard for musicians. And even today there is a need to make this disease known.

What do you mean by that?

The diagnosis for focal dystonia has only been known since 1992. Back then, it was very unexplored and most of the affected musicians experienced a years-long journey similar to João Carlos Martins. And although we are able to diagnose focal dystonia a lot earlier and better today, we have more to learn about prevention methods such as healthy practicing and good self-management. Today, the focus needs to lie more acutely on the psychological consequences of a musician’s dystonia.

Can you explain that in more detail?

All of our motor activity is a constant expression of our emotions and an expression of our psyche. If I have a very rigid mind, then my musculature automatically becomes rigid. The pressure musicians are under nowadays is much greater than in the past. Paganini just went on stage and played what he enjoyed. Today we have 20 reference recordings for comparison. So, our therapeutic measures are also geared toward relieving the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse coming with musician’s dystonia: the anger that you are practicing and it is not getting better, the shame that colleagues do not understand your problem, the guilt that you have overworked yourself, and the fear about whether you can continue your profession at all.

How does it feel to see how your research results are translated into practice?

For me it is a great success, a very satisfying activity. I have been at the Institute in Hannover for 28 years doing this musician clinic/consultation with a focus on dystonia. Since then, I have treated over 2,000 patients. And today we are in a position to offer so many therapeutic options, which we have developed over the last 30 years. It’s a great feeling for me.

maestro João Carlos Martins

Thanks to bionic gloves Maestro Martins is able to play piano again. (photo credit: Jean-Claude Kuner)

How would you have helped Maestro Martins?

The standard treatment is to start with retraining. Retraining means that you learn to perform the movements correctly again. This includes putting obsessive behavior into perspective. Freeing the patients from the pressure to succeed. In addition, there are currently two medications that work very well on dystonia.

The wrong movements in his hands I could have treated with a carefully dosed local injection of botulinum toxin, so that he no longer cramps his fingers, but still has enough strength to strike the piano keys. And finally, and maybe most importantly, I would have encouraged him to move to composing and conducting much earlier and make himself less dependent on his hands.

Why is finding new ways as a musician so important?

He has the best example before his eyes: Robert Schumann, who also suffered from focal dystonia. Imagine if I had treated Robert Schumann. That would have been a disaster. He would have become one of the nameless, Romantic piano virtuosos that no one knows today. Now, fortunately, he is one of the greatest Romantic composers of his day.

Would Schumann have jumped at the chance to wear bionic gloves?

No, not at all. In a letter to his mother, he wrote “Don’t worry about my fingers. I can compose without them, and I wouldn’t have been suitable for a traveling virtuoso in the first place.” He had very good self-awareness. And I think that’s the task for all of us – that we find solutions with the resources we have available and adapt if necessary. And if I am a very musical person, then I can develop and refine musical skills without my hands and pass them on to others.


Prof. Dr. Eckart Altenmüller is Full Professor and Head of the Department of Music-Physiology and Musician’s Medicine at the University for Music Drama, and Media, Hannover since 1994 and a leading expert on the topic of focal dystonia. His research focus is on brain processing of music and motor learning in musicians. If you are interested in more details regarding Schumann and focal dystonia, have a look at his book chapter “Robert Schumann’s Focal Dystonia” written by Prof. Altenmüller. You may also be interested in our article collection about dystonia.