EEG analysis provides arguments for human gait control

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EEG time-frequency analysis provides arguments for arm swing support in human gait control.

Gait Posture. 2019 Feb 23;70:71-78

Authors: Weersink JB, Maurits NM, de Jong BM

BACKGROUND: Human gait benefits from arm swing, which requires four-limb co-ordination. The Supplementary Motor Area (SMA) is involved in multi-limb coordination. With its location anterior to the leg motor cortex and the pattern of its connections, this suggests a distinct role in gait control.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Is the SMA functionally implicated in gait-related arm swing?
METHODS: Ambulant electroencephalography (EEG) was employed during walking with and without arm swing in twenty healthy subjects (mean age: 64.9yrs, SD 7.2). Power changes across the EEG frequency spectrum were assessed by Event Related Spectral Perturbation (ERSP) analysis over both the putative SMA at electrode position Fz and additional sensorimotor regions.
RESULTS: During walking with arm swing, midline electrodes Fz and Cz showed a step-related pattern of Event Related Desynchronization (ERD) followed by Event Related Synchronization (ERS). Walking without arm swing was associated with significant ERD-ERS power reduction in the high-beta/low-gamma band over Fz and a power increase over Cz. Electrodes C3 and C4 revealed a pattern of ERD during contralateral- and ERS during ipsilateral leg swing. This ERD power decreased in gait without arm swing (low-frequency band). The ERSP pattern during walking with arm swing was similar at CP1 and CP2: ERD was seen during double support and the initial swing phase of the right leg, while a strong ERS emerged during the second half of the left leg’s swing. Walking without arm swing showed a significant power reduction of this ERD-ERS pattern over CP2, while over CP1, ERS during left leg’s swing turned into ERD.
CONCLUSION: The relation between arm swing in walking and a step-related ERD-ERS pattern in the high-beta/low-gamma band over the putative SMA, points at an SMA contribution to integrated cyclic anti-phase movements of upper- and lower limbs. This supports a cortical underpinning of arm swing support in gait control.

PMID: 30826690 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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