Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover how brain corrects bumps to body

Date:
December 6, 2011
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
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.

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).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Andrew Pruszynski, Isaac Kurtzer, Joseph Y. Nashed, Mohsen Omrani, Brenda Brouwer, Stephen H. Scott. Primary motor cortex underlies multi-joint integration for fast feedback control. Nature, 2011; 478 (7369): 387 DOI: 10.1038/nature10436

Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Scientists discover how brain corrects bumps to body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205140527.htm>.
Queen's University. (2011, December 6). Scientists discover how brain corrects bumps to body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205140527.htm
Queen's University. "Scientists discover how brain corrects bumps to body." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205140527.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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