home
RSS
Babies, rats share walking ancestry
November 17th, 2011
04:15 PM ET

Babies, rats share walking ancestry

Children typically start walking independently when they are about 1 year old. But scientists say that even healthy newborns have the capacity to start stepping and have a pattern of neural activity similar to that of other animals.

Research published in the journal Science suggests that baby humans, rats, cats, macaque and guinea fowl all share similar neural mechanisms for locomotion. Human adults, on the other hand, have a distinct pattern of signals, which is derived from the basics seen in babies.

"We have a common history ... a common ancestral network, which originated locomotion in the first animals, the first vertebrates," said study co-author Francesco Lacquaniti, scientist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

"Mother nature did not discard what it had. It does not scrap hardware," he added. "Indeed, the adult locomotion of adults is unique. But it seems to derives from common ancestry, as for the other animals."

Researchers looked at healthy babies between 2 and 7 days old. They used an electromyograph to monitor the electrical activity of the babies' muscles. Then, a pediatrician lifted the child and lowered him or her on the table. As soon as the baby's feet touched the table, he or she would start stepping.

Motor neurons, which send signals to muscles, have the basic commands ready in a newborn baby. But only half the circuitry for walking is ready at birth, Lacquaniti said. In fact, the stepping reflex disappears a few weeks after birth. It then reappears as intentional walking at about 10 months, the time it takes for the nervous system to mature and develop the signals missing at birth.

Lacquaniti and colleagues also looked at toddlers, older children and adults and saw how the patterns of the infants get modified and adapted as a child ages. In adult walking, the pulses of activity are shorter than in babies, which is useful for the older folks because less energy is spent.

"This is why babies start walking at 1 year of age, but they wobble," Lacquaniti said. "It takes several more years to then fine-tune and develop adult-like commands, which are much briefer."

Researchers wanted to see how this process of the development of locomotion compares to that of other animals. They looked at rats, cats, macaque and guinea fowl and found similar patterns of neural activity as in newborn human babies.

A 2-year-old human child is smarter than an adult monkey, but the two have comparable locomotive abilities, Lacquaniti said. Separate research has shown that the bigger the animal's brain, the longer the time after fertilization required to develop independent locomotion.

This does not mean humans walk better than other animals. In fact, there are significant costs associated with moving with two legs instead of four: for instance, greater instability and back pain because we have to sustain the weight of our bodies.

There are clinical implications to all this. Understanding the neural mechanisms of walking can help with developing rehabilitation tools for people who are paralyzed and cannot walk.

"If one knows the exact shape of the neural commands, one hopes to use similar commands in prosthetic limbs, retrain the paralyzed patient to relearn to walk, so to speak," Lacquaniti said.


soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. aika private server english

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read content from other writers and practice something from their sites.

    https://analytics.bluekai.com/site/16231?phint=event=click&phint=campaign=BRAND-TAB&phint=platform=search&done=https://aikareborn.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. flatbed trailer repair near me

    https://clients1.google.com.sg/url?rct=t&sa=t&url=https://fleetservicerepairshop.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Driver Seats Riverside

    http://www.fabulousthings.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrvmotorsports.info

    May 4, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Keratoconus Specialist Phoenix Az

    http://www.compusystems.com/servlet/Et?x=270.-101.2337367Chttp3A2F2Farizonasvision.com

    May 4, 2021 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. peterbilt truck repair

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own site now 😉

    https://cse.google.ge/url?sa=j&rct=j&url=https://ocrvfleetservices.com

    May 4, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV AC Orange County

    Your style is really unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.

    https://www.ipsfocus.com/go.php?id=https://ocrv.xyz

    May 4, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Generator Los Angeles

    http://cse.google.fm/url?q=https://ocrvmotorcoaches.com

    May 4, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Optometrist Phoenix

    https://image.google.co.cr/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https3A2F2Fbettersightovernight.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. online personal coach

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉

    https://cse.google.la/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https://mastermindofmen.com

    May 5, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. penske truck repair near me

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    http://o.ello.co/https://commercialvanrepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. semi truck transmission repair near me

    http://www.toolsir.com/alexa/siteinfo/boxtruckrepairshop.com/

    May 5, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. commercial vehicle repair near me

    https://parking-system.ru/bitrix/redirect.php?event1=&event2=&event3=&goto=https://commercialrepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. executive coach near me

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I really believed you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://cse.google.iq/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://menmastermind.com

    May 5, 2021 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Awning Orange County

    https://www.local.google.bi/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ocrvmotorsports.co

    May 5, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. fried chicken near me

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own site now 😉

    https://cartridges.planetark.org/r/forkliftsforsalenearme.com

    May 5, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. mindset coach

    http://wna.mushroomplanet.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=menmastermind.com

    May 5, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. circle k near me

    http://www.seacreative.net/seacreative/wp-content/themes/Recital/go.php?https://mastermindformen.com

    May 6, 2021 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. dollar store near me

    After going over a few of the blog posts on your blog, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and tell me your opinion.

    http://www.ccedip.com/about/redirect.asp?url=https://www.postfallshealth.com

    May 6, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. best rv repair

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes which will make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://ytapi.com/embed/eM-QoxMsFXI

    May 6, 2021 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Forklift Repair Near Me

    https://vine-vine.tk/video/h8HNNFmhuMc

    May 6, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Wooden Kegs

    It’s difficult to find experienced people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://map.google.li/url?sa=j&url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com

    May 6, 2021 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv repair lancaster ca

    https://ruslar.biz/video/KLnLlPwDnwo

    May 7, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Used Forklift Parts California

    http://deturl.com/play.php?v=RdrVjjDs8eE

    May 7, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. California Common Beer

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    http://clients1.google.dk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://allbrewsupplies.com

    May 7, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. New Forklift Service California

    https://local.google.mn/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://usedforkliftsforsaleorangecounty.com

    May 7, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. physical therapy near me

    http://www.yaguo.ru/links.php?go=http://www.lifeboosterpack.com

    May 7, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Used Forklift Parts California

    https://map.google.tt/url?q=https3A2F2Fforkliftrentalsnearme.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 7, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. collision experts fargo

    http://www.uvioo.com/watch/?m=felixdu073&so=yt&v=jzRx8Uam2aY

    May 7, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rv blinds repair

    http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/help/urlstatusgo.html?url=https3A2F2Focrvcenter.com

    May 7, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Google Marketing Job

    http://www.tfpma.org.tw/readyscript/capps/pc2-p/redirect.php?r=http://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Seo Marketing Consultant

    https://hesperian.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Seo Marketing Help

    http://www.foalsearch.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Local Marketing Business

    http://inginformatica.uniroma2.it/?URL=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Social Media Marketing Service

    You made some really good points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

    http://pthelpforhaiti.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Internet Marketing Orange County

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the site is also really good.

    http://www.line-on-line.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rv orange county

    You are so interesting! I don't believe I've read through anything like that before. So nice to find another person with a few original thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    https://dulcesdiosas.com/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=https://ocrvcenter.com

    May 8, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Social Media Marketing Videos

    https://adultdvdempire.info/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Digital Marketing Events

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    http://www.masterbikelocks.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Social Media Marketing Specialist

    http://www.megaopt.by/bitrix/rk.php?goto=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Body Shop Los Angeles

    I really like it when individuals get together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!

    https://is.gd/3fLVAm

    May 8, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Google Marketing Program

    You are so awesome! I don't believe I have read something like this before. So nice to discover another person with a few unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

    https://www.peak.mn/banners/rd/25?url=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Internet Marketing Consultant

    https://www.datacenterofthefuture.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Social Media Marketing Experts

    http://feontex.com/minerApi.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Local Marketing Service

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own site now 😉

    https://www.d3lta.me/app/php/share.php?u=https://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Social Media Marketing Brea

    http://www.flooble.com/cgi-bin/clicker.pl?id=grabbadl&url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing Agency Orange County

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but generally folks don't discuss such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!

    http://internout.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Internet Marketing Mentor

    http://www.buesum-auskunft.de/browse.php?url=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 10, 2021 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Content Marketing Idea

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    http://midlandnationallife.info/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Internet Marketing Agency Near Me

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now 😉

    https://metagrupp.ru/redirect.php?goto=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Internet Marketing Studio

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    http://www.gymlink.com.au/redirect.php?listid=10427&url=www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.