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Does a single control mechanism exist for both forward and backward walking?

Van Deursen, Robert William Martin, Flynn, Timothy W., McCrory, Jean L. and Morag, Erez 1998. Does a single control mechanism exist for both forward and backward walking? Gait & Posture 7 (3) , pp. 214-224. 10.1016/S0966-6362(98)00007-1

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It has been proposed that the highly reproducible forward walking (FW) locomotor pattern is generated by a central neuronal program or central pattern generator (CPG) which provides the underlying mechanism which produces the coordinated walking movement. The purpose of this study was to quantify the differences in the muscular activation patterns during FW and backward walking (BW) at a constant step frequency and to determine if common features exist across both locomotor conditions. The hypothesis was that FW and BW are both mediated by the same CPG; therefore, only small modifications in the CPG are required in order to produce the different characteristics of each walking mode. The results noted kinematically reversed patterns at the hip and ankle joints between FW and BW. The knee joint movement pattern was similar between conditions, however, a phase shift of 14.3% of the gait cycle occurred. An approximately 25% phase shift in the muscle activation patterns existed between FW and BW in four of the six muscles studied. Additionally, a pattern recognition technique was applied to the combined EMG signals to determine the minimum number of features required to generate the measured muscular output. Only two main features were necessary to produce the EMG patterns for both the FW and BW condition. The main features in FW were more consistent than noted in BW. The results support the notion that a single spinal mechanism such as a CPG with two main features appears to be in control during both FW and BW.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Forward and backward walking; Gait control; Central pattern generators
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0966-6362
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:57

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