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Neuroimage. 2001 Nov;14(5):1186-92.

Cortical mapping of gait in humans: a near-infrared spectroscopic topography study.

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Neurorehabilitation Research Institute, Bobath Memorial Hospital, 1-6-5, Higashinakahama, Joto-ku, Osaka 536-0023, Japan.


While we have a fair understanding of how and where forelimb-hand manipulative movements are controlled by the neocortex, due to functional imaging studies, we know little about the control of bipedal movements such as walking because of technical difficulties. We succeeded in visualizing cortical activation patterns of human gait by measuring relative changes in local hemoglobin oxygenation using a recently developed near-infrared spectroscopic (NIRS) topography technique. Walking activities were bilaterally associated with increased levels of oxygenated and total hemoglobin in the medial primary sensorimotor cortices and the supplementary motor areas. Alternating foot movements activated similar but less broad regions. Gait imagery increased activities caudally located in the supplementary motor areas. These findings provide new insight into cortical control of human locomotion. NIRS topography might be also useful for evaluating cerebral activation patterns during pathological gait and rehabilitative intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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