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Cc to the brain: How neurons control fine motor behavior of the arm
Date:1/31/2014

scle is sent in two different directions in one direction, to trigger the desired muscular contraction and in the other, to inform the brain that the command has actually been passed on to the musculature." In analogy to e mail transmission, the information is thus not only sent to the recipient but also to the original requester.

Information to brainstem nucleus segregated by function

What happens to the information sent by spinal interneurons to the brain? As Arber's group discovered, this input is segregated by function and spatially organized within a brainstem nucleus. Information from different types of interneurons thus flows to different areas of the nucleus. For example, spinal information that will influence left-right coordination of a movement is collected at a different site than information affecting the speed of a movement.

Fine motor skills supported by dual information stream

Arber comments: "From one millisecond to the next, this extremely precise feedback ensures that commands are correctly transmitted and that via the signals sent back to the brain from the spinal cord the resulting movement is immediately coordinated with the brain and adjusted." Interestingly, the scientists only observed this kind of information flow to the brain for arm, but not for leg control. "What this shows," says Arber, "is that this information pathway is most likely important for fine motor skills. Compared to the leg, movements of our arm and especially our hands have to be far more precise. Evidently, our body can only ensure this level of accuracy in motor control with constant feedback of information."

In further studies, Silvia Arber's group now plans to investigate what happens if the flow of information back to the brain is disrupted in specific ways. Since some interneurons facilitate and others inhibit movement, such studies could provide additional insights into the functionali
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Contact: Heike Sacher
heike.sacher@unibas.ch
41-612-671-449
University of Basel
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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