Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: evan_au on 22/09/2019 03:30:18

Title: Do humans have movement patterns built into our spines?
Post by: evan_au on 22/09/2019 03:30:18
This week's Naked Neuroscience said it isn't clear whether humans have complex movement patterns built into our spine, like some other creatures.

I heard that some researchers trying to restore movement to patients with spinal injuries had managed to stimulate walking-type motions by triggering nerves in the spine, below the spinal cord break. This suggests that humans also have this capability.

See: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts/naked-neuroscience/making-moves
Title: Re: Do humans have movement patterns built into our spines?
Post by: jeffreyH on 22/09/2019 13:47:06
The nervous system has to have this capability. The brain would be under a lot of stress if it had to coordinate hundreds of nerve pathways to enable walking. A lot of things must be hard coded into our nervous systems.
Title: Re: Do humans have movement patterns built into our spines?
Post by: alancalverd on 22/09/2019 15:46:46
Dinosaurs had an auxiliary brain in the lumbar spine. I've often thought that the heavy tails of pursuit carnivores (cats and dogs) are used to provide an inertial reference to the running mechanism, so the back legs can go into a semiautonomous full-power  gallop whilst the main brain connects the eyes, ears and nose to the front legs that do most of the steering.   
Title: Re: Do humans have movement patterns built into our spines?
Post by: jeffreyH on 22/09/2019 16:01:49
An increase in IQ has been associated with learning a musical instrument at an early age. I don't know the veracity of this idea. If true then mechanical memory, as in muscle memory, has to be associated with intelligence.

So being able to control the hard coded system in specific ways leads to better capabilities of learning in general. This includes handling and developing tools. So animals that can learn to handle tools must have the capacity to achieve better intellectual skills.
Title: Re: Do humans have movement patterns built into our spines?
Post by: alancalverd on 23/09/2019 15:59:52
Measured IQ depends a lot on familiarity with the concepts underlying the questions. I attended an excellent lecture by a guy who had lived with a South American tribe who had no concept of number beyond 3 (you, me, him/them), nor of direction other than "up river" and "down river", or "towards the river" and "away from the river", since all their needs were provided by their immediate environment.  No doubt these chaps would have failed any conventional IQ test, but they had lived well and harmoniously for the best part of 40,000 years in an environment that the said American missionary  could not have survived  for a day.

There's a chicken and egg problem too. Obviously all musicians are superior beings, as are all scientists, and as for physicists who play the tuba, we have a specially extended, logarithmic IQ scale matched by massive sexual prowess. But most kids who learn an instrument early have successful, ambitious or nurturing parents, and acquire the selfconfidence to tackle questionnaires and puzzles, partly from that nurture, partly from the business of regular performance, and partly because reading music is a matter of decoding and understanding sequences of symbols.
Title: Re: Do humans have movement patterns built into our spines?
Post by: jeffreyH on 23/09/2019 19:43:22
So what you are saying is my cat ain't going to be studying engineering anytime soon. (Very sad face). And his prowess is also curtailed. He is missing some of the required equipment. (He has a very sad face)