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urbrainondrugs's picture

Could your arm be stuck upwards?


A central pattern generator is a collection of neurons that causes rhythmic movements in living creatures. They are motor symphonies that create oscillations or rhythmic activity independent of sensory inputs. Normally these neurons oscillate on their own and/or oscillate (fire) as the result of a cascading action potential going down a network of neurons. These were the two models we looked into during class. I was interested to know whether or not there are patterns of neurons where they cannot fire and cause a motor symphony alone, even if there is an outside stimulus to begin the action potential cascade. These neurons cannot work alone, but rather, will only function if they collect together and fire at the similar times. Are there certain patterns that require there to be a certain number of neurons to be present in the action and will only activate once there is a sufficient amount working together?

In the case of a biological being central pattern generator can send bursts down to activate a motor neuron which can cause a certain muscle to contract. However the muscle must also move back the other direction because the motor neuron is only responsible for this particular movement, so consequently there must be another central pattern generator system to create an opposing movement. Would your arm muscles contract if there was not a network of neurons present in order to contract the opposite direction and bring your arm back down? Also the models we looked at seemed to be continuous excitatory systems. Are these systems managed by a negative feedback loop so for example a muscle is not over stimulated? Is your nervous system aware whether or not there are neurons present to balance movements?

Cheers (a motor symphony with glasses)


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