Oscillations in the human brain during walking execution, imagination and observation

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Gait is an essential human activity which organizes many functional and cognitive behaviors. The biomechanical constraints of bipedalism implicating a permanent control of balance during gait are taken into account by a complex dialog between the cortical, subcortical and spinal networks. This networking is largely based on oscillatory coding, including changes in spectral power and phase-locking of ongoing neural activity in theta, alpha, beta and gamma frequency bands. This coding is specifically modulated in actual gait execution and representation, as well as in contexts of gait observation or imagination. A main challenge in integrative neuroscience oscillatory activity analysis is to disentangle the brain oscillations devoted to gait control. In addition to neuroimaging approaches, which have highlighted the structural components of an extended network, dynamic high-density EEG gives non-invasive access to functioning of this network. Here we revisit the neurophysiological foundations of behavior-related EEG in the light of current neuropsychological theoretic frameworks. We review different EEG rhythms emerging in the most informative paradigms relating to human gait and implications for rehabilitation strategies.

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