Learning to walk on err

Calculated missteps open gait to flexible adjustments

2:03pm, October 20, 2011

Stroke survivors and other patients trying to relearn how to walk due to weakness on one side of the body may reap benefits from being forced to stumble and stagger.

Healthy adults made to switch between a regular and an unusual walking pattern on a special treadmill relearned the strange stride much faster the next day than volunteers who had practiced only the unusual gait, neuroscientist Amy Bastian of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore and her colleagues report in a study in the Oct. 19 Journal of Neuroscience.

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