Speculations surrounding a spinal reflex
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A method has been developed for measuring the Ia fibre input/motoneurone output relationship for the soleus H-reflex in healthy human volunteers. The shift in the relationship during weak toe extension, and in some subjects during weak plantar flexion, indicates the imposition of an inhibitory mechanism, presumably presynaptic. From these observations, and others previously made on long-loop reflexes, it is argued that the inhibitory mechanism may have evolved to suppress unwanted information from the periphery, not only during movement but in the resting state, and that this development was a necessary accompaniment of encephalisation.
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