15-2 Motor adaptation on split belt treadmill for the rehabilitation of walking

Motor adaptation on split belt treadmill for the rehabilitation of walking -- A review
Mor Moser, Simona Bar Haim



Introduction: Adaptation is the first step in the process of motor learning. The split belt treadmill allows to explore motor adaptation and human locomotion, and to search for new methods of rehabilitation. This review seeks to provide the general physical therapy community with a  preliminary overview of the findings of research regarding  the clinical outcomes following training on a split belt treadmill.

Methods: Pub Med and Google Scholar databases were search edusing the following relevant keywords: “motor adaptation, “central pattern generators, and “motor learning. The studies and reviews included in the current study were from 1990 or later.
Results of the Literature Review: Studies of adaptation that used a split belt treadmill have shown that adaptation allows rapid adjustment to changing environments, and contributes to motion symmetry, stability, and accuracy and reduces the amount of energy expended. It was found that this ability was retained in patients with various types of brain damage, with the exception of cerebellar damage.
Repeated practice over weeks of adaptation and de-adaptation led to motor learning, i.e., storage of a new motor program that can be used when necessary. It was found that the shift from adaptation to motor learning was influenced by concentration –as opposed to distraction--during performance, and by age.

Discussion: Motor adaptation on a split belt treadmill expands the range of available tools that can be applied towards rehabilitation, and has been found effective for gait rehabilitation in patients with walking asymmetry induced by brain damage. Further studies are necessary to identify the most efficient ways to use this treadmill.

Key words: Gait Rehabilitation, Motor adaptation, Split belt treadmill, Motor learning, Central Pattern Generators



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