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Gait Training Improves Performance in Healthy Adults Exposed to Novel Discordant ConditionsAfter they return to Earth, astronauts experience sensorimotor disturbances that disrupt their ability to walk. We have previously shown that training with a variety of sensorimotor adaptive challenges enhances the capability of adapting to novel sensorimotor conditions. We are currently developing a sensorimotor adaptability (SA) training program designed to facilitate recovery of function after gravitational transitions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether trained subjects could transfer learned skills from one discordant visuo-proprioceptive environment to another. During three sessions, subjects walked at 2.5 km/h on a treadmill mounted on a motion base platform. Ten subjects trained with a combination of lateral treadmill translation and superimposed sinusoidal lateral optic flow that was presented on a large screen positioned in front of them. Ten controls completed the same training schedule while viewing only the forward optic flow with no visual or physical oscillation. Twenty minutes after the final training session, all subjects completed a 2-minute trial with a novel combination of visual and treadmill roll perturbations not previously experienced during the training (Transfer Test). Compared to the untrained group, participants who received SA training showed faster reaction times and, based on a composite score derived from stride frequency, heart rate, and reaction time, an overall enhanced performance. Our results showed that an SA training program can improve overall walking performance when subjects are exposed to novel incongruent sensory environments. This training has application for both enhancing adaptive responses in astronauts and reducing fall and injury risk in the elderly.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Batson, Crystal D. (MEI Technologies, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Brady, Rachel A. (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Peters, Brian T. (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Mulavara, Ajitkumar P. (Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Bloomberg, Jacob J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Behavioral Sciences
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
3rd International Congress on Gait and Mental Function(Washington, DC)
Distribution Limits