Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human Brain Minimizes Energy Expenditure And Integrates Gravity Into The Action Plan

Date:
October 26, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
When reaching for an object, the brain prepares neural commands sent to the target muscles to minimize energy expenditure, according to a new study.

When reaching for an object, the brain prepares neural commands sent to the target muscles to minimize energy expenditure, according to a study published in PLoS Computational Biology by neuroscientists and mathematicians from the INSERM and ENSTA.

Related Articles


How the human brain organizes and controls our actions is a crucial question in life sciences. In recent decades, an important theoretical advance has been the use of computational models and the assumption that the brain behaves like an optimal controller. In most studies, an optimality criterion is chosen a priori and assumed to produce smooth and harmonious movements, as those recorded experimentally. Most existing models, however, fail to explain how our interactions with the external environment are integrated into optimization processes.

In particular, gravity is one of the constraints that permanently act upon the movements of living organisms. The simple observation of vertical arm movements reveals that muscle activity when moving upwards differs from when moving downwards. This led the authors to surmise that the brain takes advantage of gravitational force during movement, trying to optimize energy consumption.

The discovery of this biological rule has resulted from the use of a hypothetical-deductive mathematical method which predicted short periods of muscle inactivation and direction-dependent hand kinematics. These predictions have been verified experimentally using human volunteers. Moreover, they have demonstrated a necessary and sufficient condition of optimal control for arm movements which is a novelty in motor control studies.

The authors explain how the brain plans movements by integrating biological and environmental constraints and the method may be of potential value for understanding motor dysfunction and guiding subsequent rehabilitation programs. Moreover, it opens the prospect of studying brain functions by a cooperative interaction of mathematicians and neuroscientists. Interestingly, the paper is a clear demonstration that mathematical principles and theories, formerly used for understanding the non-living world, are now used for understanding how biological organisms integrate these laws.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Berret B, Darlot C, Jean F, Pozzo T, Papaxanthis C, et al. The Inactivation Principle: Mathematical Solutions Minimizing the Absolute Work and Biological Implications for the Planning of Arm Movements. PLoS Comput Biol, 2008; 4 (10): e1000194 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000194

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Human Brain Minimizes Energy Expenditure And Integrates Gravity Into The Action Plan." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023222250.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, October 26). Human Brain Minimizes Energy Expenditure And Integrates Gravity Into The Action Plan. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023222250.htm
Public Library of Science. "Human Brain Minimizes Energy Expenditure And Integrates Gravity Into The Action Plan." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023222250.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) An ultra-realistic humanoid robot called &apos;Han&apos; recognises and interprets people&apos;s facial expressions and can even hold simple conversations. Developers Hanson Robotics hope androids like Han could have uses in hospitality and health care industries where face-to-face communication is vital. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drones and Health Apps at Santiago's "Robotics Day"

Drones and Health Apps at Santiago's "Robotics Day"

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Latin American robotics experts gather in Santiago, Chile for "Robotics Day". Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japan Humanoid Robot Receives Customers at Department Store

Japan Humanoid Robot Receives Customers at Department Store

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) She can smile, she can sing and she can give you guidance at one of the most upscale department stores in Tokyo...a female-looking humanoid makes her debut as a receptionist Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pending Comcast-Time Warner Merger Has DOJ, FCC Concerned

Pending Comcast-Time Warner Merger Has DOJ, FCC Concerned

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) The Department of Justice reportedly has concerns a Time Warner-Comcast merger would create an entity too large in the cable and broadband markets. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins