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Motor control

– Neural control of muscle force: – Movements require motor neurons to fire action potentials for muscle contraction. – ~150,000 motor neurons control ~600 muscles […]

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– Neural control of muscle force:
– Movements require motor neurons to fire action potentials for muscle contraction.
– ~150,000 motor neurons control ~600 muscles in humans.
– A subset of 600 muscles must contract precisely to generate the right force.
– Muscle contraction is essential for movements like touching your nose.
– Successful movements depend on the coordination of motor neurons and muscles.

– Motor units and force production:
– A motor unit consists of a motor neuron and the muscle fibers it controls.
– Muscle fibers within a motor unit contract together in response to motor neuron activity.
– The force produced by a muscle depends on motor neuron activity and muscle fiber properties.
– Motor units within a muscle collectively form a motor pool.
– Muscle force generation is influenced by the biomechanics of the limb.

– Recruitment order:
– Motor units are recruited in a specific order based on force production capabilities.
– Hennemans size principle explains the recruitment order based on motor neuron size and excitability.
– For tasks needing small forces, motor units with slowly-contracting fibers are recruited.
– Tasks requiring more force recruit motor units with fast, fatigueable fibers.
– The recruitment order ensures efficient force production based on task requirements.

– Computational issues of motor control:
– Movement selection involves activating specific motor neurons at specific times.
– Recruitment order within a motor pool simplifies the movement control problem.
– Activating motor units along the recruitment hierarchy achieves desired force production.
– Computational challenges in motor control include selecting appropriate motor neurons.
– Understanding the computational aspects helps in optimizing movement control strategies.

– Sensorimotor control:
– Sensorimotor control integrates sensory information for motor responses.
– Multisensory integration, signal processing, and coordination are crucial for motor control.
– Posture, balance, and stability rely on successful sensorimotor control.
– Sensorimotor control involves cognitive processes for effective movement execution.
– Researchers like Daniel Wolpert and Randy Flanagan emphasize the importance of motor control in brain function.

Motor control (Wikipedia)

Motor control is the regulation of movements in organisms that possess a nervous system. Motor control includes conscious voluntary movements, subconscious muscle memory and involuntary reflexes, as well as instinctual taxis.

To control movement, the nervous system must integrate multimodal sensory information (both from the external world as well as proprioception) and elicit the necessary signals to recruit muscles to carry out a goal. This pathway spans many disciplines, including multisensory integration, signal processing, coordination, biomechanics, and cognition, and the computational challenges are often discussed under the term sensorimotor control. Successful motor control is crucial to interacting with the world to carry out goals as well as for posture, balance, and stability.

Some researchers (mostly neuroscientists studying movement, such as Daniel Wolpert and Randy Flanagan) argue that motor control is the reason brains exist at all.

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