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Development of a Human Neuro-Musculo-Skeletal Model for Investigation of Spinal Cord Injury


Chandana Paul, M. Bellotti, S. Jezernik, A. Curt

Biological Cybernetics, vol. 93, no. 3, pp. 153-170

This paper describes a neuro-musculo-skeletal model of the human lower body which has been developed with the aim of studying the effects of spinal cord injury on locomotor abilities. Themodel represents spinal neural control modules corresponding to central pattern generators, muscle spindle based reflex pathways, golgi tendon organ based pathways and cutaneous reflex pathways, which are coupled to the lower bodymusculo-skeletal dynamics. As compared to other neuro-musculo-skeletal models which aim to provide a description of the possible mechanisms involved in the production of locomotion, the goal of the model here is to understand the role of the known spinal pathways in locomotion. Thus, while other models focus primarily on functionality at the overall system level, the model here emphasizes functional and topological correspondance with the biological system at the level of the subcomponents representing spinal pathways. Such a model is more suitable for the detailed investigation of clinical questions related to spinal control of locomotion. The model is used here to perform preliminary experiments addressing the following issues: a) the significance of spinal reflex modalities for walking and b) the relative criticality of the various reflex modalities. The results of these experiments shed new light on the possible role of the reflex modalities in the regulation of stance and walking speed. The results also demonstrate the use of the model for the generation of hypothesis which could guide clinical experimentation. In the future, such a model may have applications in clinical diagnosis, as it can be used to identify the internal state of the system which provides the closest behavioral fit to a patientís pathological condition.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { PauEtal:2005:IFA_2150,
    author={Chandana Paul and M. Bellotti and S. Jezernik and A. Curt},
    title={{Development of a Human Neuro-Musculo-Skeletal Model for
	  Investigation of Spinal Cord Injury}},
    journal={Biological Cybernetics},
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