About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Babies’ First Steps May Help People Recover From Walking Disabilities

by Reshma Anand on July 5, 2016 at 6:45 PM
Font : A-A+

Babies’ First Steps May Help People Recover From Walking Disabilities

Rehabilitation of patients recovering from spinal cord injury and children with cerebral palsy could be improved by understanding how babies take their first steps, said a new study.

Anyone who has held a baby near to the floor and seen the child 'walking' around has caught a glimpse of our inborn instinct for walking. This primitive stepping reflex is the foundation on which children build an independent walking motion.


Dr Nadia Dominici leads a group at VU University, Netherlands, investigating the neural patterns underlying the development of locomotion. "We look at the emergence of walking behaviors in both human babies and infant animals, as they develop," she explains. "We are showing that humans and other terrestrial animals learn how to walk in surprisingly similar ways."

The group has shown that movements such as walking are created from the flexible combination of a small set of groups of muscles that simplify the control of locomotion, called 'locomotor primitives'. Dr Dominici expands on this, saying: "We found that human babies are born with just two walking primitives: the first directs the legs to bend and extend; the second commands the baby's legs to alternate -- left, right, left, right -- in order to move forward. To walk independently, babies learn two more primitives, which we believe handle balance control, step timing and weight shifting."

These primitives are unexpectedly alike throughout the different animals that the group has studied, as Dr Dominici explains: "Despite all of the differences in body structure and evolution, locomotion in several animal species could start from common primitives, maybe even stemming from a common ancestral neural network."

This knowledge could be significant in helping patients with walking disabilities recover some mobility. Dr Dominici has already had promising results in rehabilitating injured rats and has bigger plans too. "Results from the rat study show that it's possible to use neural primitives to improve walking in rats," she says. "We are now studying the applicability of this method to children with cerebral palsy and adults with spinal cord injuries."

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Body Types and Befitting Workouts Walking for Fitness and Weight Loss Walking As An Exercise Who Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain? Surprising Health Benefits of Post-meal Walking 

Recommended Reading
Mobility Plays An Important Role in Kids With Disabilities
Physical activity has important physiological benefits for children, but it also is a vehicle ......
External Brain Stimulation Improves Mobility in Parkinson's Patients: Johns Hopkins
In some people with Parkinson's disease, dopamine neurons generally die on one side of the brain, .....
Stress Likely to Cause Irreversible Weathering in Body
Young adults who come from adverse backgrounds and achieve a higher social status are more likely .....
Free Software to Make Computer Use Easier for Those With Motor Disabilities
A new invention by the University of Washington scientists will help people with motor disabilities ...
Body Types and Befitting Workouts
Workout and diet which is well suited for a pear shaped body....
Surprising Health Benefits of Post-meal Walking
Walking after a meal helps in the faster transit of food from the stomach into the small intestine a...
Walking As An Exercise
People walk for many reasons ranging from pleasure to mental relaxation, finding solitude or for ......
Walking for Fitness and Weight Loss
A few extra steps a day are enough to keep you fit....
Who Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain?
Walking early morning would improve your health as it helps heart and brain to function properly. Fi...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)