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Central Pattern Generation

After digesting some of the comments on central pattern generation, and on the ability to walk (without being "taught" it) I also started to wonder less on how central pattern generation occurs, but more on how it is weakened or lost. From life experience, it seems that with walking specifically, there is only a very basic central pattern generator. For example, a friend of mine who experienced TBI (traumatic brain injury) did have to 'learn' how to walk again, even after only a few months in a coma. She continued to receive physical therapy long after waking up in order to walk efficiently (and not like a toddler). Without therapy, I do believe she could have walked again, but doubt that she or other patients would walk very well.

The fact that you have to 'relearn' how to do something after not doing so for extended periods of time proves that something is lost. Maybe then, if this central pattern generator isn't put to use by the nervous system, then it is the fluidity of exchange between neurons that is weakened, and not the c.p.g. itself. This would explain why you could still play basic melodies on the piano after years of not playing, yet it would take some time to 'relearn' the complex ones; you are not rebuilding a c.p.g. but strengthening the relationship between surrounding neurons. Of course, this idea could be wrong, but it is 'less wrong' in my mind, and helps me understand that central pattern generators are somehow innate, such as the central pattern generator for walking.


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