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Neuroimage. 2008 Jan 15;39(2):600-7. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Activities in the frontal cortex and gait performance are modulated by preparation. An fNIRS study.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation, Bobath Memorial Hospital, Osaka, Japan.


Neural activities in the primary motor cortex and supplementary motor area increase during the preparation as well as execution of voluntary movements of the hand and foot. However, there are few studies concerning preparatory activities of the brain preceding walking performance. We investigated how a verbal instruction "ready" before walking affected cortical activations and walking performances using a functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Seven healthy subjects performed two locomotor tasks on a treadmill with a verbal instruction "ready" before the treadmill was started (prepared walking; PW) and without it (simple walking; SW). Cadence was smaller and stride length was longer in PW than in SW. Increases of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxyHb) in the frontal regions especially in the prefrontal and premotor cortices were greater in PW than in SW both during the preparation and walking periods. These results suggested that preparation for walking cued by a verbal instruction enhanced frontal activations both during the preparation and execution of walking as well as walking performance.

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