Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover how brain corrects bumps to body

06.12.2011
Researchers have identified the area of the brain that controls our ability to correct our movement after we’ve been hit or bumped— a finding that may have implications for understanding why subjects with stroke often have severe difficulties moving.
The fact that humans rapidly correct for any disturbance in motion demonstrates the brain understands the physics of the limb – scientists just didn’t know what part of the brain supported this feedback response – until now.

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!
Further information:
http://www.queensu.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht When wheels and heads are spinning - DFG research project on motion sickness in automated driving
22.05.2019 | Technische Universität Berlin

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>