Potential rehabilitation of volitional walking in individuals with spinal cord injury
Gait disturbance in individuals with spinal cord injury is attributed to the interruption of neural pathways from brain to the spinal locomotor center, whereas neural circuits locate below and above the lesion maintain most of their functions.
The right arm muscles and the locomotion center of the man are artificially connected through a computer. His legs are in a relaxed state. When he moves his right hand, the computer catches the signal from his arm and produces signals to his locomotion center to move his legs.
Credit: © Yukio Nishimura
This image shows an artificial connection that connects brain to spinal circuits.
Credit: © Yukio Nishimura
An artificial connection that bridges the lost pathway and connects brain to spinal circuits has potential to ameliorate the functional loss.
A Japanese research group led by Shusaku Sasada, research fellow and Yukio Nishimura, associate professor of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) has successfully made an artificial connection from the brain to the locomotion center in the spinal cord by bypassing with a computer interface.
This allowed subjects to stimulate the spinal locomotion center using volitionally-controlled muscle activity and to control walking in legs. This result was published online in The Journal of Neuroscience on August 13, 2014.
Neural networks in the spinal cord, locomotion center are capable of producing rhythmic movements, such as swimming and walking, even when isolated from the brain.
The brain controls spinal locomotion center by sending command to the spinal locomotion center to start, stop and change waking speed. In most cases of spinal cord injury, the loss of this link from the brain to the locomotion center causes problems with walking.
The research group came up with bypassing the functioning brain and locomotion center with the computer to compensate lost pathways as a way to enable individuals with spinal cord injury to regain walking ability.
Since the arm movement associte with leg movement when we walk they used muscle activity of arm to sarogate the brain activity. The computer interface allowed subjects to control magnetic stimulator that drive to the spinal locomotion center non-invassively using volitionally-controlled muscle activity and to control walking in legs.
As a results of experiments in people who are neurologically intact, the subjects were asked to make own legs relaxed and passively controlled via computer interface that was controlled by arm muscle, walking behavior in legs was induced and subjects could control the step cycle volitionally as well. However without bypassing with the computer interface, the legs did not move even if the arms muscle was volitionally acivated.
"We hope that this technology would compensate for the interrupted pathways' function by sending an intentionally encoded command to the preserved spinal locomotor center and regain volitionally-controlled walking in indviduals with paraplegia. However, the major challenge that this technology does not help them to dodge obstacles and to maintain posture. We are carefully working toward clinical application in near future", Nishimura said.
Yukio Nishimura | Eurek Alert!
Sensor cable monitors fences of all kinds and can even detect low-level drone fly-bys
25.03.2015 | Universität des Saarlandes
Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes
25.03.2015 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...
The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.
As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...
When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.
The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe.
Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...
Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.
From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.03.2015 | Event News
26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News
26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News
26.03.2015 | Life Sciences