How does step training affect stepping performance in untrained directions?

Step training is effective for preventing falls in older people (Okubo et al., 2015). This is likely because the movements performed during training closely mimic those which are necessary to avoid falling in real-world situations. One form of step training involves interactive video game technology. This type of training has […]


Home-based exercise improves balance in people with dementia

Older people with dementia are at increased risk of physical decline and falls, with 60% falling annually. So far, there is limited evidence that falls can be prevented in community-dwelling older people with dementia (Sherrington et al., 2016). Poor balance and depressive symptoms are risk factors for falls in this […]


Calibrating skin maps: How are body metrics represented?

To accurately move there is a need for proprioception, the sense of where our limbs are in space. Although we know much about how proprioceptive signals arise in the periphery, less is known about how these signals are integrated so that they can be understood in the spatial co-ordinates of the […]


Why does motor performance decline with aging?

Populations in many countries are aging as the proportion of people over 65 years is projected to increase over the next 30-40 years. Aging however, is accompanied by a reduced ability to perform daily tasks such as walking, rising from a chair and climbing stairs, ultimately impacting independence of living. […]


How do muscles change shape when they are passively lengthened?

Muscles are often referred to as ‘motors’ that drive human and animal movements. This analogy certainly captures the important role of muscles as active generators of force and movement. However, it sells the equally important passive properties of muscles short. Most of us will only appreciate the importance of passive […]


Exercise reduces pain through a peripheral mechanism in healthy adults 1

In healthy adults, it is well demonstrated that a single bout of exercise can acutely reduce pain (Naugle et al., 2012), a phenomenon known as exercise-induced hypoalgesia. However, the mechanisms of pain reduction after exercise are not clear. The methods commonly used to study pain responses after exercise in humans […]


How common are sleep disturbances in multiple sclerosis? 1

Sleep disruption and sleep-disordered breathing (repetitively stopping breathing or insufficient breathing during sleep), may be important factors in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Types of sleep-disordered breathing include obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea […]


Too much of a good thing? A new role for serotonin in the human spinal cord

Serotonin is one of the “feel good” neuromodulators floating around in the central nervous system, however, it doesn’t just play a role when it comes to our mood. Serotonin plays a very important role in transmitting impulses between nerve cells. More specifically, it affects the excitability of our motoneurones, the […]


How do we maintain reaching accuracy during body movement?

When reaching for an object we must compensate for any body movement that may take the arm off-target.  For example, reaching for a handrail when standing on a bus that suddenly accelerates requires detection and compensation for body movement relative to the handrail.  A key sensory system which can detect body […]