The brain as command center for bodily movement was too simple an idea, thought the Russian physiologist Nicolas Bernstein some 60 years ago. After studying human movements for years, Bernstein pointed out in 1940 that the great flexibility of the body, coupled with unexpected events in the world, meant that the nervous system had to prepare the body in advance for what might happen next.
If Bernstein were right, it would affect the design of prosthetic devices and biologically inspired robots.
Using computer technologies unavailable to their predecessor, researchers at Case Western Reserve University have provided direct evidence for Bernsteins hypothesis. Reporting on their findings in the Journal of Neuroscience are Hillel Chiel, professor of biology, neurosciences and biomedical engineering; Hui Ye, Chiels former graduate student who is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Toronto Western Research Institute; and Dr. Douglas Morton, another former graduate student who is currently a radiologist at Premier Medical Imaging in Michigan.
Susan Griffith | EurekAlert!
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