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Neuron. 2015 Apr 8;86(1):38-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.042.

Neuromechanical principles underlying movement modularity and their implications for rehabilitation.

Author information

1
W.H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA; Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: lting@emory.edu.
2
Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA; Department of Neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.
3
W.H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA; Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
4
W.H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.
5
Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation, Atlanta, GA 30033, USA; Department of Medicine, Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Abstract

Neuromechanical principles define the properties and problems that shape neural solutions for movement. Although the theoretical and experimental evidence is debated, we present arguments for consistent structures in motor patterns, i.e., motor modules, that are neuromechanical solutions for movement particular to an individual and shaped by evolutionary, developmental, and learning processes. As a consequence, motor modules may be useful in assessing sensorimotor deficits specific to an individual and define targets for the rational development of novel rehabilitation therapies that enhance neural plasticity and sculpt motor recovery. We propose that motor module organization is disrupted and may be improved by therapy in spinal cord injury, stroke, and Parkinson's disease. Recent studies provide insights into the yet-unknown underlying neural mechanisms of motor modules, motor impairment, and motor learning and may lead to better understanding of the causal nature of modularity and its underlying neural substrates.

PMID:
25856485
PMCID:
PMC4392340
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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