Despite the prevalence of mild traumatic brain injuries (sports-related concussions are estimated to occur over 3.5 million times annually in the U.S.), prevention, identification, treatment, rehabilitation, and determination of recovery time-points are largely inadequate due to the paucity of parametric factors that can be easily and reliably measured both in the field and in the clinic.
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Using control systems modeling techniques, the following hypothesis has been developed into a gaze system model (Freedman, 2001). Hypothesis: a vectorial signal of desired gaze displacement is derived from the location of the active population in the deeper layers of the superior colliculus. This signal is subsequently decomposed into eye and head desired displacement signals which are used as input to separate controllers. A dynamic signal of horizontal head velocity inhibits the gain of the exponential function describing the horizontal eye burst generator.
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Orienting to objects in our environment is a ubiquitous behavior that enables us to extract high quality visual information about our world, helps us navigate through complex environments and contributes to our daily interactions. Understanding the neural mechanisms that form the basis for this common activity requires development of ways in which to separate individual movement components in order to correlate neural activity with some but not other features, and also a recognition that naturally occurring movements are made within a broader context.
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Maintaining our sense of the world around us and being able to interact with our environment depends in large part on the nervous system’s ability to perform a few basic functions. We must be able to gather accurate sensory information about our surroundings, distinguish our movements from the movements of objects in the world, and coordinate our own movements in order to orient, and navigate smoothly through a complex setting.
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