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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Motor Functions of the Spinal Cord; the Cord Reflexes

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Function of the Muscle Spindles and Golgi Tendon Organ

Function of the Muscle Spindles and Golgi Tendon Organs in Conjunction with Motor Control from Higher Levels of the Brain

Function of the Muscle Spindles and Golgi Tendon Organs in Conjunction with Motor Control from Higher Levels of the Brain

Although we have emphasized the function of the muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs in spinal cord control of motor function, these two sensory organs also apprise the higher motor control centers of instantaneous changes taking place in the muscles. For instance, the dorsal spinocerebellar tracts carry instantaneous information from both the muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organs directly to the cerebellum at conduction velocities approaching 120 m/sec, the most rapid conduction anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. Additional pathways transmit similar information into the reticular regions of the brain stem and, to a lesser extent, all the way to the motor areas of the cerebral cortex. The information from these recep-tors is crucial for feedback control of motor signals that originate in all these areas.


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