We have long been talking about the importance of the cerebellum in gait and motor activity (see here).
Here is a study (Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Shown to Impact Walking Patterns) that looks at a new technique for using electrical stimulation of the brain’s cerebellum (trans cranial direct current stimulation to be exact) to change gait on a split belt treadmill (a double treadmill where each leg moves a slightly different speed). The study found that during the electrical stimulation the anode (negative charge) seems to speed up the learning process(our theory: more electrons, possibly creating a temporary electrical gradient which depolarizes (excites) the cells to a greater degree). And the cathode seemed to slow things down(our theory, it hyperpolarizes the cell and makes it less excitable).
Take home message? There are new neurologic studies and experiments that may be proving helpful in retraining gait function. Stimulating the brain’s cerebellum seems to speed up learning or slow it down, depending on your client’s needs. We are sure we will be seeing more of this kind of stuff at technology advances.
Maybe Larry Niven wasn’t that far off. (We loved the story “The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton”). This could be a great, non invasive tool for rehab (or maybe improving performance!)
The Gait Guys…taking you deeper down the rabbit hole…
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