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Motor Impairment on an international stage

On November 26, some of the finest minds in medical science will meet in Sydney, Australia to discuss the latest  research on motor impairments – the diseases or health conditions that disrupt function of the human motor system (brain, nerves, and muscles) and cause physical disability. The event that will […]


Breathing: an automatic process until your 70s?

We don’t normally have to think about our breathing and that’s because breathing is handled by a subconscious part of the brain called the medulla. The medulla automatically controls our breathing as well as our heart rate and blood pressure (Del Negro et al. 2018). It sends neural signals to the […]


Motor Impairment Blog’s most popular posts

Over the past 4.5 years, researchers from all over the world have written non-technical summaries on their research for the Motor Impairment Blog. Consequently, the Blog contains a rich archive of information on topics such as muscle strength and weakness, falls and balance, sensation, pain, motor control, and research methods. […]


Spinal cord plasticity: getting to the how of the matter

It is well known that the nervous system is capable of change. One way that change occurs is through the strengthening or weakening of connections between nerve cells; a process termed synaptic plasticity. In the laboratory, we can produce synaptic changes using stimulation techniques that activate various parts of the […]


Prof Simon Gandevia selects his “Paper of the Year” for 2017

How do we learn things? Sometimes learning occurs over many trials but other times it occurs after single episodes. The traditional view of learning has invoked Hebbian plasticity (Hebb 1949). Here, the concept is that “neurones that wire together, fire together”. Enhanced firing of a post-synaptic cell is thought to […]


Recovery from stroke after more than 20 years

Much can be learned from case studies of individual patients. This has been shown more than once in the field of stroke research.  The observations by the illustrious neuroanatomist Dr. Brodal of his own stroke are an example (Brodal 1973). A paper recently published in the Journal of Neurophysiology provides […]


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 […]


Interview: Professor Peter Eastwood talks about the role of respiratory muscles in breathing motor impairments 2

When you take a breath, many muscles in your body contract in a coordinated pattern to let air flow in and out of your lungs. While most of the muscular work for breathing is done by the diaphragm muscle in the abdomen, the muscles in the upper airway also play […]


New reflexes acting between human inspiratory muscles in able-bodied participants and those with spinal injury

Inspiratory muscle motoneurone pools are linked via many reflex connections.  These reflexes are largely inhibitory and can operate over several segments.  Much of our knowledge of these reflex connections comes from studies in animals (Marlot et al. 1988, Speck & Revelette. 1987).  In humans, we know that stimulation of the phrenic nerve […]