By Jacob McGlaughlin, Health Sciences; Nicholas Ferrera, Health Sciences
Advisor: Pierce boyne
Abstract: Error augmentation can be used to form long-term progress in gait proficiency following a stroke. It is believed that normal, forward walking is controlled within the medial portion of the primary motor cortex. Few studies have been conducted, observing the brain actication patterns during perturbation. It was hypothesized that during perturbation the supplementary motor area (SMA),pre-SMA, dorsal premotor cortex (PMd),and primary motor cortex would be more active with little to no change in the following pathways: superior frontal gyrus (SFGm9), somatosensory association cortex (mParietal). To test these hypotheses, eight participants performed a treadmill walking experiment involving five 90 second walking trials alternated with 30 second rest periods. During the middle 30 seconds of each trial, perturbation was introduced using a resistance band to restrict forward progression of the left leg during the swing phase. A functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system was used to assess immediate brain activation changes before and after perturbation. Following perturbed walking, there was a significant decrease in SFGm9 activation (T=-2.219, p=0.038) and a near-significant decrease in PMd activation (T=-1.985, p=0.060). These two reagions are closely related to motivation and effort. It can be concluded that following perturbed walking, the dorsal motor region within brain becomes less active following nonperturbed walking. Further testing should be conducted to further understand the effect these findings have on metabolic efficiencies and rehabilitation of walking.