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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Oct;22(5):822-8. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.03.012. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Development of human locomotion.

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Department of Systems Medicine, Neuroscience Section, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy.


Neural control of locomotion in human adults involves the generation of a small set of basic patterned commands directed to the leg muscles. The commands are generated sequentially in time during each step by neural networks located in the spinal cord, called Central Pattern Generators. This review outlines recent advances in understanding how motor commands are expressed at different stages of human development. Similar commands are found in several other vertebrates, indicating that locomotion development follows common principles of organization of the control networks. Movements show a high degree of flexibility at all stages of development, which is instrumental for learning and exploration of variable interactions with the environment.

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