IIT Gandhinagar researchers discovers underlying limb-independent motor memories

New Delhi :
The Researchers of Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IIT Gandhinagar) has discovered an underlying limb-independent motor memories which can help in stroke rehabilitation. A study led by Prateek Muthaan, Associate professor at IIT Gandhinagar has revealed that underlying limb-independent motor memories can help in stroke rehabilitation. According to Mutha, the reseach will help physical therapists treat their patients better. Probing how limb-independent memories are acquired, a team of researchers investigated both the algorithm used and the neural machinery causally associated with this process.

This ability to learn, store, execute and continuously refine –

Skilled actions, from a ballerina’s pirouette to playing a ghamak on the sitar, are based on the ability to learn new movement patterns and to adapt them to new environments. This ability to learn, store, execute and continuously refine actions is broadly defined as motor learning and is driven by multiple neural mechanisms. Just as learning the list of prime ministers of India results in the formation of a memory that can be later recalled, motor learning also results in the formation of a ‘motor memory’ that subsequently enables superior movement performance,” Mutha said.

Affected limb cannot be engaged effectively –

According to Mutha, the work could potentially help physical therapists better strategies training of an unaffected limb when the affected limb cannot be engaged effectively during rehabilitation of stroke patients with significant weakness on one side of the body or the patients with other unilateral brain injuries.

Bring about improvements in their actions –

“First, the fact that deficits in forming effector-independent memories are seen following left but not right hemisphere disruption, suggests that rehabilitation following left versus right hemisphere damage needs to be different. Second, if patients with left hemisphere damage, particularly in the PPC, fail to learn using implicit mechanisms, explicit strategies to accomplish the task goal may need to be provided to them in order to bring about improvements in their actions. Finally, the fact that learning can generalize from one effector to another, suggests that the ‘unaffected’ limb could be trained during rehabilitation to bring about performance gains on the affected side,” he said.

This study has also been published in –

The other members of the team included research scholars Adarsh Kumar, Gaurav Panthi and Rechu Divakar. This study has also been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) journal.

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