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Simulation reveals how body repairs balance after damage
Date:9/25/2007

s to track the motion of the bodys center of gravity, compensating for the loss of information from the damaged sensory pathways. In effect, the subjects muscles were using different neural information to perform the same balance tasks, resulting in muscle activity patterns that looked abnormal, but that were actually similar to the predicted optimum.

The research team is now testing its center of gravity simulation with human subjects and a small robot with simulated muscles. They predict that the simulation could recognize impairment and pinpoint the optimum recovery points for each sensory-impaired subject all based on the bodys reliance on center of gravity information. When applied to a robot, these neural communication patterns allowed the robot to successfully move fluidly like an animal, in contrast to what its gears and motors might suggest. The robot demonstrates all of the different strategies that could be used by normal and sensory-loss patients.

This finding will change the way we approach rehabilitation, Ting said. We cant expect patients to mimic normal balance performance when theyre using a different set of sensory information. Instead, our work can help identify the best performance possible given a patients level and type of sensory impairment.


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Contact: Megan McRainey
megan.mcrainey@icpa.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Georgia Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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