Neuromechanics? This early in the morning?
It has been a while since we have done a neuromechanics post. While doing some research for one of our PODcasts, We ran across this paper: http://www.ajronline.org/content/184/3/953.full
Midbrain Ataxia: An Introduction to the Mesencephalic Locomotor Region and the Pedunculopontine Nucleus
Yikes! What a mouthful!
What’s the bottom line?
The paper review a condition called “gait ataxia”. In plain English this means “aberrant or unsteady” gait. Things which usually cause gait ataxia originate in an area of the brain called the cerebellum, which coordinates all muscle activity. If you drink to much alcohol, it affects your cerebellum and you have a “wobbly” gait : ).
This paper looks at another area of the brain called the midbrain. It is the top part of the brainstem and contains an important gait integration and initiation center called the “midbrain locomotor nucleus”. The paper looks at 3 different cases and has some cool MRI images to see, along with alot of fancy neurological words and pathways.
There are many factors to consider when evaluating ataxic (or wobbly) gait, and this just gives us all one more place to look.
The Gait Guys. Making you smarter every day!