New understanding of how the brain coordinates eye and body movements
How do we coordinate eye and body movements? We make our eye movements earlier or later in order to coordinate with movements of our arms, New York University neuroscientists have found. Their study, which appears in the journal Neuron, points to a mechanism in the brain that allows for this coordination and may have implications for rehabilitation and prosthetics. In their study, the researchers examined the neurological activity of macaque monkeys while the subjects performed a variety of tasks that required them to either reach and simultaneously employ rapid eye movements or to only use eye movements. The resulting readings revealed significant coherent patterns of firing of neurons in the brain’s posterior parietal cortex (PPC) when both the eyes and arms were required to move, but not for tasks that involved only eye movement. Coherent patterns of firing may be due to these different brain areas communicating when coordinating movement, the research team concluded.