Breaking News
May 21, 2018 - Birth rate decline driven by waiting longer to have children, cost of infertility treatment
May 21, 2018 - In-hospital opioid prescribing may increase post-discharge opioid use, shows study
May 21, 2018 - ABPI expert urges to find new ‘blockbuster treatments’ for brain tumors
May 21, 2018 - Disruption of Circadian Rhythm Negatively Impacts Mental Health
May 21, 2018 - World first use of cognitive training reduces gait freezing in Parkinson’s patients
May 21, 2018 - NIH stops alcohol study that was looking at purported health benefits of drinking
May 21, 2018 - Higher belly fat levels linked to greater risk of vitamin D deficiency
May 21, 2018 - Scientists collate evidence for mismatch between past evolutionary adaptation and modern lives
May 21, 2018 - New case report reveals negative clinical impact of using biotin supplement
May 21, 2018 - Researchers discover new disease mechanism in chronic tobacco smokers
May 21, 2018 - Breast Cancer Patients May Shorten Herceptin Regimen: Study
May 21, 2018 - Bias keeps women with higher body weights away from the doctor: study
May 21, 2018 - Researchers identify protein essential for eye lens development and clear vision
May 21, 2018 - Frontal cortical lesions moderate response to prism adaptation treatment after stroke
May 21, 2018 - Ultrasound guidelines can reliably differentiate between pediatric thyroid nodules that require biopsy
May 21, 2018 - Weight loss is an important predictor of cancer
May 21, 2018 - Ozone exposure at birth linked to increased risk of developing asthma in childhood
May 21, 2018 - CT scan still effective to determine thrombectomy treatment in stroke, study shows
May 21, 2018 - Clot busting drug combo reduces risk of major strokes in high risk patients
May 21, 2018 - New airway transplantation technique shows promising results in lung cancer patients
May 21, 2018 - Biomarker blood test does not appear to curb antibiotic overuse, shows new study
May 21, 2018 - Lilly’s Galcanezumab Meets Primary Endpoint in Phase 3 Study Evaluating Galcanezumab for the Prevention of Episodic Cluster Headache
May 21, 2018 - Grief symptoms similar in donor vs non-donor decision families
May 21, 2018 - Congo to start vaccinating populations against Ebola today to combat outbreak
May 21, 2018 - Researchers use MR spectroscopy to investigate mechanisms behind targeted treatment for gliomas
May 21, 2018 - Study reveals why older workers have higher stress levels than younger colleagues
May 21, 2018 - Health Tip: Taming a Pollen Allergy
May 21, 2018 - Inducing labor at 39 weeks reduces risks of C-section and other complications
May 20, 2018 - Developmental psychotherapy aims at helping antisocial adolescents become responsible adults
May 20, 2018 - People with OCD process emotions differently than their unaffected siblings
May 20, 2018 - Interfering with enzyme’s movement may be new approach for developing of anti-cancer drugs
May 20, 2018 - Prestroke and poststroke oral anticoagulation therapy in AF patients
May 20, 2018 - Why drug users prefer heroin at home, but cocaine while out
May 20, 2018 - Gene therapy that reverses blindness in dogs could also help treat humans
May 20, 2018 - Opioid-Related Payments Linked to Increase in Opioid Rx
May 20, 2018 - Phone apps push people to take their pills
May 20, 2018 - Backbreaking Work May Shorten Men’s Lives
May 20, 2018 - Harsher drug laws won’t stop violence, argues former police chief
May 20, 2018 - Cognitive decline in dementia is not reduced by exercise
May 20, 2018 - Detecting breast cancer with non-invasive ‘disease screening pill’
May 20, 2018 - Simple treatment may minimize hearing loss triggered by loud noises
May 20, 2018 - Alignment of mother and offspring body clock could prevent diseases such as heart disease and obesity
May 20, 2018 - New commercial data warehouse for life sciences
May 20, 2018 - Practice Intervention Targeting IV Opioids May Cut Exposure
May 20, 2018 - New study provides insight into blood signatures of inflammation
May 20, 2018 - Scientists make breakthrough discovery about vitamin B12
May 20, 2018 - What Causes Cancer? Misconceptions Abound
May 20, 2018 - Proper burial of dead cells limits inflammation
May 20, 2018 - Study offers novel solution to suppress metastatic spread of deadly breast cancer
May 20, 2018 - Perspectives of patients and caregivers on care transitions
May 20, 2018 - Guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy should be changed for underweight and very obese women
May 20, 2018 - Researchers transplant retinal sheets derived from human embryonic stem cells in retinal degeneration mouse models
May 20, 2018 - U.S. military personnel at greater risk for skin cancer than general population
May 20, 2018 - Your immune system holds the line against repeat invaders, thanks to this molecule
May 20, 2018 - Between death and deportation
May 20, 2018 - Developing a High Throughput Mass Spectrometry Platform for Drug Discovery
May 19, 2018 - New project aims to increase awareness among hospital clinicians of non-beneficial treatment at end-of-life
May 19, 2018 - Automated bone scan index offers accurate, speedy prognostic information about prostate cancer
May 19, 2018 - Rutgers Cancer Institute nurses research various topics to enhance patient experience
May 19, 2018 - Computer models provide valuable insight to structure and function of Ebola, Zika viruses
May 19, 2018 - Study exposes key tactic used by deadly fungus
May 19, 2018 - Bacterial signals are crucial to development of pre-leukemic myeloproliferation, study shows
May 19, 2018 - Global experts identify key issues in supporting children with brain injuries transition back to school
May 19, 2018 - Social connections may protect black men who have sex with men from acquiring HIV
May 19, 2018 - Study IDs Factors Linked to Quality of Life With Dementia
May 19, 2018 - Potassium — Consumer
May 19, 2018 - HIV-1 viruses transmitted at birth are resistant to antibodies in mother’s blood
May 19, 2018 - Some water pitchers are much better at removing toxins, shows research
May 19, 2018 - Scientists discover how unusually long strands of RNA help colon cancer cells avoid death
May 19, 2018 - International study finds viable treatment option for people with mild asthma
May 19, 2018 - Mayo discovery could enable development of personalized ovarian, brain cancer treatments
May 19, 2018 - ‘Superbug’ Surfaces at Poultry Farm in China
May 19, 2018 - UCLA-designed program helps former HIV-positive inmates maintain health after release from jail
May 19, 2018 - New blood test could help avoid more than 40% of prostate biopsies, study finds
May 19, 2018 - Macrophages play key role in maintaining stem cell niche of mammary gland
May 19, 2018 - Ferritin Blood Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
May 19, 2018 - Prolonged exposure to air pollution leads to genetic changes in rat brains, study finds
May 19, 2018 - Scientists identify new potential target to combat acute myeloid leukemia
May 19, 2018 - Ovarian cancer therapy may help treat patients with aggressive pancreatic cancer
May 19, 2018 - MediciNova Announces Opening of Investigational New Drug Application for MN-166 (ibudilast) in Glioblastoma
Visually guided walking paves way for better treatment for mobility impairments

Visually guided walking paves way for better treatment for mobility impairments

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Using new technologies to track how vision guides foot placement, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin come one step closer in determining what is going on in the brain while we walk, paving the way for better treatment for mobility impairments — strokes, aging and Parkinson’s — and technology development — prosthetics and robots.

Walking on natural terrain takes precise coordination between vision and body movements to efficiently and stably traverse any given path. But until now, both vision and locomotion have been studied separately within controlled lab environments, limiting understanding of how various neural and biological systems work together to navigate the natural world.

“One of the beautiful things about visually guided walking is that it involves every level of our perceptuomotor hierarchy. To really understand it, you need to know how vision works, how planning works, how muscles work, how spines work, how physics work,” said Jonathan Matthis, a postdoctoral researcher in the UT Austin Center for Perceptual Systems.

Matthis’ research, published in Cell this April, combined new motion-capture and eye-tracking technologies to track distinct patterns between the two mechanisms. To do so, researchers jerry-rigged a welding mask around an eye tracker — to shade the infrared eye cameras from sunlight — and developed new methods to calibrate the eye tracker with a motion-tracking suit to record gaze and full-body kinematics as participants navigated through three types of terrain: flat, medium and rough terrain.

“Eye movements are incredibly informative as a window into the cognitive process,” Matthis said. “By tracking eyes, we get a clear picture of the kind of information the central nervous system needs to complete any given task.”

Researchers found that participants displayed distinct walking and gaze patterns in each of the terrains. Subjects walked quickly with longer strides on the flat terrain, looking down only about half of the time to briefly scan the upcoming path for obstacles.

On the medium and rough terrain, steps became shorter, slower and more variable, with participants looking at the ground more than 90 percent of the time to precisely fixate upcoming footholds. In the medium terrain, walkers focused primarily on where their foot would be in two steps. The rough terrain required walkers to split their gaze between their future foot placement in two and three steps to allow for longer-term path planning.

Despite these differences, an unexpected pattern emerged: In all three terrains, participants consistently looked 1.5 seconds ahead of their current location. This finding is similar to lookahead timing seen in research on other motor actions — stair climbing, driving and reaching — suggesting that this timing plays an important role in human movement.

“The constant lookahead time suggests that walkers are maintaining some sort of global locomotor strategy that is being tuned to each specific environment,” Matthis said. “Walkers use gaze to ensure that they always know what will be coming up 1.5 seconds down the path.

“Good action decisions require not only good sensory data, but also a consideration of the costs and benefits of the action,” Matthis said. “Taking this type of research out of the lab and into the real world allows us to observe human behavior in its natural environment. This gives us more opportunity to discover things we didn’t expect, which will help us advance our scientific knowledge to the benefit of improving clinical treatment of gait-related disorders.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles