Study conducted by Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine researchers offered new insights into how the nervous system controls leg movements in walking.
The research team of Sasha N. Zill, Ph.D., and Sumaiya Chaudhry, in collaboration with Chris J. Dallmann, Ph.D., and Josef Schmitz, Ph.D, at Bielefeld University and Ansgar Büschges, Ph.D., at the University of Cologne, applied forces and joint torques to the legs of stick insects to determine their impact on muscle activation. Their findings were published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.
‘Dynamic signals from sense organs that detect changes in load are critical in producing normal leg movements.’
"Current prosthetic devices for leg amputees incorporate sensors and microprocessors to regulate joint stiffness. The new findings suggest mechanisms for making these joints more adaptable, permitting more natural leg movements," said Zill, senior author and professor of anatomy in the department of biomedical sciences at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.