Research Projects

Plasticity of locomotor patterns via biomechanical perturbation training:

Amir Haim, Nimrod Rosen, Alon Wolf

The act of walking is an extremely complex endeavor of muscleforces on bones, rotations through multiple joints, and external  forces that act on the body.  Overall, this task is attained by a proper kinematic trajectory command coordinated by the nervous system to its skeleto-muscular instruments which generate the appropriate kinetics. "Hard wear" flaws such as congenital deformities,developmental abnormalities, and acquired problems such as trauma, and degenerative changes are all pathologies that can potentiallycontribute to diminution in gait efficiency. However, it is evident that patients with similar anatomical pathologies properties display diverse locomotor function due to alterations in motor control. Moreover, extensive evidence now indicates that the entire central nervous system is highly plastic, and that it changes continually throughout life.
In the this area of study, we examine and model the direct locomotor response to controlled footwear-generated multiple planes biomechanical manipulations. we hypothesize that specific biomechnical challenges will stimulate matching biomechanical responses throughout the musculoskeletal kinematic chain. We aim to study biomechanical parameters generated by multiple biomechanical challenges to produce a "biomechanical map" of corresponding kinetic, kinematic, and electromyographic reactions.  The second objective of this research is to study the outcome of extended biomechanical intervention. We hypothesize that repetitive exposure to a biomechanical stimulus would generate a process of motor learning thus conveying plasticity of existing locomotor patterns and gait strategies.
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