A recent study from Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine offers insights into how the nervous system controls leg movements in walking.

The findings could help direct the rehabilitation of stroke patients as well as the design of prosthetic legs, according to the researchers.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

In the study, the researchers applied forces and joint torques to the legs of stick insects to determine their impact on muscle activation.

“Our research shows that dynamic signals from sense organs that detect changes in load are critical in producing normal leg movements,” says Sasha N. Zill, PhD, senior author and professor of anatomy in the department of biomedical sciences at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, in a media release.

“Current prosthetic devices for leg amputees incorporate sensors and microprocessors to regulate joint stiffness. The new findings suggest mechanisms for making these joints more adaptable, permitting more natural leg movements,” she adds.

[Source(s): Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Science Daily]