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Biomechanics and Neurorehabilitation

Module code: 6CCYB067
Module credits: 15
Module convenor: 
Dr Adam Shortland


The module will provide core knowledge in the area of neuro-disability and neuro-rehabilitation with a particular emphasis on the neurophysiology and muscle physiology in health and disease. The students will be introduced to the instrumentation and techniques used to quantify neuro-mechanical impairment and motor control. They will understand the current and emerging technologies used to monitor and rehabilitate the patient and enhance and augment motor function.

Learning Objectives

  • By the end of this module, the student will:
  • Be able to define the basic concept of movement performance from planning, preparation to the execution and how movement can be impaired.
  • Be able to create a simple musculoskeletal model for assessing joint movement.
  • Appreciate inverse dynamics and be able to perform a calculation in 2D.
  • Learn methods to evaluate standing balance and muscle forces.
  • Learn to interpret the data collected and understand rehabilitation strategies.
  • Have knowledge about different disorders that may affect the motor performance.
  • Be able to associate suitable rehabilitation technologies to the recovery of upper and lower limb function.
  • Be able to understand how different motor disorders relate to different rehabilitation technologies.
  • Have practical experience in the acquisition of biological signals.
  • Be able to formulate creative research questions in the area of human biomechanics and to investigate human motor control.

Module Description

Lecture 1: Concepts in Neuro-disability

Topics: Introduction to different prevalent neuromuscular conditions that give rise to long term disability in adults and children.  Introduction and criticism of medical and bio-psychosocial models. Introduction to clinical assessment of the individual patient including the use of clinical measurement technology.

Lecture 2: Mechanics for movement.

Topics: calculus review; introduction of the concepts of centre of mass, and mass moment of inertia; the concept of anthropometry and the calculation of the inertial properties of the individual. Introduction to Induced Acceleration Analysis.

Lectures 3 and 4: Basic neurophysiology of movement and posture

Topics: CNS and PNS involvement in voluntary movement, PNS, brain plasticity. Ascending and Descending Pathways, Information Conduction and Transmission, Receptors, Motor Units and Electromyography, reflexes, sensorimotor integration.

Lecture 5: Muscle and tendon structure and function in health and disease.

Topics include: sarcomere dynamics, muscle fine and gross morphology, muscle energetics, muscle adaptation and response to injury. Clinical cases will be included to illustrate the effects of neurological conditions (eg cerebral palsy, peripheral neuropathy) and primary muscular conditions (eg myopathies) on muscle and tendon performance.

Lecture 6: Motor Control and disorders.

Topics: Motor control and coordination, Motor disorders, approach to neurological rehabilitation, Promises and challenges of neurorehabilitation technology.

Lecture 7 and 8: Neuro-mechanical measurements.

Topics: Introduction to measurement of joint forces and movement in the human subject including instrumentation (motion capture, force plates, surface electromyography) and methods (biomechanical modelling of joint kinematics and kinetics). Illustrated by clinical cases to elaborate particular conditions.

Lecture 9: Technology to enhance arm and hand function.

Topics: Selective disorders leading to upper limb impairment, introduction to clinical management strategies (therapy, surgery etc). Use of technology in managing impairments and improving function (eg. exoskeleton devices, functional electrical stimulation, virtual reality). Use of robots in neuro-rehabilitation. Measurement used to assess outcome (eg bio-signal measurement and processing, measurement in the environment).

Lecture 10: Technology to enhance locomotor function

Topics: Similar to above lecture


Summative Assessment

Details of the module's summative assessment/s

Type  Weighting

Written exam (2 hours) (May)




Formative Assessment



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