Several pathways and regions of the central nervous system could contribute to our response to external knocks to the body, but researchers only recently discovered that the pathway through the primary motor cortex provides this knowledge of the physics of the limb.
“To say this process is complex is an understatement,” says Stephen Scott, a neuroscience professor and motor behavior specialist in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences. “Voluntary movement is really, really hard in terms of the math involved. When I walk around, the equations of my motion are like a small book. The best physicists can’t solve these complicated equations, but your brain can do it incredibly quickly.”
The corrective movement pathway works by limiting and correcting the domino effect of involuntary bodily movement caused by an external blow. For example, a blow to the shoulder that causes the whole arm to swing about may require the brain to quickly turn on muscles in the shoulder, bicep, forearm and hand in order to regain control of the limb. Likewise, a football player who collides with an opponent during a game has to respond quickly to correct the movement and remain upright.
Strokes that take place in the primary motor cortex may cause varying levels of damage to this corrective movement pathway. This varying damage may explain why some stroke patients are able to improve their movement skills in rehabilitation and why some patients remain uncoordinated and unsteady.
Dr. Scott now wants to apply these findings to stroke patients by examining the damage these patients have to their sensory pathways and how this damage relates to movement problems. He believes that these findings may support an increased focus on first-stage sensory rehabilitation to help rebuild pathways that transmit sensory information to the brain before treatment moves to a focus on motor skills.
Other Queen’s researchers involved with this study are J. Andrew Pruszynski, Isaac Kurtzer, Joseph Nashed, Mohsen Omrani (Centre for Neuroscience Studies), and Brenda Brouwer (Centre for Neuroscience Studies and Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences).
This work was recently published in Nature, and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Anne Craig | EurekAlert!
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences