Much of our understanding of the control of locomotion is derived from studies that focus on the action of stepping and progressing in the desired direction. However, functional locomotion is limited when a person has compromised balance control. Balance control while walking is restricted or limited in many individuals who have suffered a neurologic injury or disease, and is common consequence of the normal aging process. Our laboratory is investigating aspects of the neural control of balance during walking. Our long-term goal is to understand what aspects of the neural control of balance during walking are affected by injury or disease, with the hopes that this will then guide the development of effective theurapeutic interventions or assistive devices to promote independent, functional locomotion for those affected.
In our laboratory we utilize electromyography, 3D kinematics, and ground reaction forces to indirectly test nervous system function. We also utilize electrical stimulation techniques to evoke muscle and cutaneous reflexes and other evoked potentials, to directly probe various neural circuits. Our subjects include young healthy adults, special populations (including older adults and spinal injured subjects), as well as animal preparations.