Data_Sheet_1_A Pathological Condition Affects Motor Modules in a Bipedal Locomotion Model.pdf
Bipedal locomotion is a basic motor activity that requires simultaneous control of multiple muscles. Physiological experiments suggest that the nervous system controls bipedal locomotion efficiently by using motor modules of synergistic muscle activations. If these modules were merged, abnormal locomotion patterns would be realized as observed in patients with neural impairments such as chronic stroke. However, sub-acute patients have been reported not to show such merged motor modules. Therefore, in this study, we examined what conditions in the nervous system merges motor modules. we built a two-dimensional bipedal locomotion model that included a musculoskeletal model with 7 segments and 18 muscles, a neural system with a hierarchical central pattern generator (CPG), and various feedback inputs from reflex organs. The CPG generated synergistic muscle activations comprising 5 motor modules to produce locomotion phases. Our model succeeded to acquire stable locomotion by using the motor modules and reflexes. Next, we examined how a pathological condition altered motor modules. Specifically, we weakened neural inputs to muscles on one leg to simulate a stroke condition. Immediately after the simulated stroke, the model did not walk. Then, internal parameters were modified to recover stable locomotion. We refitted either (a) reflex parameters or (b) CPG parameters to compensate the locomotion by adapting (a) reflexes or (b) the controller. Stable locomotion was recovered in both conditions. However the motor modules were merged only in (b). These results suggest that light or sub-acute stroke patients, who can compensate stable locomotion by just adapting reflexes, would not show merge of motor modules, whereas severe or chronic patients, who needed to adapt the controller for compensation, would show the merge, as consistent with experimental findings.