Dr. Laurent Bouyer, Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation at Laval University, Director of the Neuroscience Research Center and Researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS) (Canada), will visit Delsys on Thursday June 20th to present his research.
Better understanding the neural control of human gait using robotics, elastics, and muscle fatigue.
To remain functional throughout life, the control of locomotion must be adjustable to changes in body size and muscle strength as well as to the demands of the environment. Part of the neural circuits at the basis of this life-long motor learning are only ‘open’ during walking, and therefore need to be studied during dynamic muscle contractions. This presentation will summarize several experiments performed in healthy participants and neurological populations where a robotic ankle orthosis was used to study the signals that trigger our ability to adapt human gait. By imposing controlled disturbances during walking and by interrogating sensorimotor pathways using different neurophysiological methods (TMS, reflexes, etc.) and measuring the evoked responses in surface EMG, this approach allowed us to better understand adaptive locomotor plasticity and to reveal some of its underlying neural mechanisms. Very recently, as locomotor rehabilitation is often performed in the presence of fatigue, we developed laboratory and real-world models of fatigue to identify the best EMG correlate of fatigue onset during complex dynamic muscle contractions. Our results demonstrate that the use of robotic tools can be very powerful to help understand human locomotor control in health and disease and to develop / optimize locomotor rehabilitation paradigms. Furthermore, simple metrics of the EMG power spectrum can be adapted to work ‘outside of the laboratory’ to measure the onset of muscle fatigue.
Dr. Laurent Bouyer
Department of Rehabilitation
Dr. Bouyer is a Full Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation at Laval University, the Director of the Neuroscience Research Center and a Researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS). His research program focuses on motor control and motor learning. Most of his research projects are carried out in interdisciplinary teams that combine health sciences and engineering, covering many facets of rehabilitation research. His research interests include understanding the neural circuitry underlying human gait control, remote EMG and movement sensing / telemetry in real-world environments, improving clinical tests using wearable sensors, characterizing early indicators of muscle fatigue during complex movements, and developing new robotic technologies and software for rehabilitation.