Recovery of forward steeping in spinal cord injured patients does not transfer to untrained backward stepping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Six spinal cord injured (SCI) patients were trained to step on a treadmill with body-weight support for 1.5-3 months. At the end of training, foot motion recovered the shape and the step-by-step reproducibility that characterize normal gait. They were then asked to step backward on the treadmill belt that moved in the opposite direction relative to standard forward training. In contrast to healthy subjects, who can immediately reverse the direction of walking by time-reversing the kinematic waveforms, patients were unable to step backward. Similarly patients were unable to perform another untrained locomotor task, namely stepping in place on the idle treadmill. Two patients who were trained to step backward for 2-3 weeks were able to develop control of foot motion appropriate for this task. The results show that locomotor improvement does not transfer to untrained tasks, thus supporting the idea of task-dependent plasticity in human locomotor networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-382
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume157
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • Central pattern generator
  • Human locomotion
  • Laufband therapy
  • Motor learning
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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