Volltext: Researches in cross-education (6)

Researches in cross-education. 
An hour’s exclusive operation on the right eye showed on the left a rela¬ 
tive enhancement of the ability to see. In many patients with chronic 
catarrh of the middle car the observer was surprised to find that an im¬ 
portant pathological influence was transferred from the ear to the 
sense of sight. 
Damsch1 explains the spreading of nervous impulses to action as due to 
the close connection of all motor centers. Impulses from the motor 
centers, tend to spread themselves by their entrance into the great central 
brain ganglion—where fibers from all motor centers come together and 
are intimately connected. This spreading of impulses is hindered by a 
checking, or inhibiting, apparatus which keeps the impulse from going 
the wrong way. This apparatus is much improved by practice. In the 
young and in certain nervously disordered persons it is deficient. 
It was noticed in the tapping experiment that there was a tendency at 
times for the subject’s left foot to make movements to accompany those 
made by the right. Damsch’s explanation for such movements is that 
the impulse sent to the right foot has in part escaped through the check¬ 
ing apparatus and gone the wrong way. In learning an act that involves 
fine coordination it is very obvious that the pupil executes many move¬ 
ments that are entirely unnecessary. The nervous impulse has flowed 
out into wrong channels. These observations show how closely related 
are the motor centers governing symmetrical or associated parts and how 
an influence sent out from the central nervous system to a peripheral organ, 
may be felt in other peripheral organs also. 
The following conclusions may be drawn from my own experiments 
and those of other observers. 
a. The effects of exercise may be transferred to a greater or less de¬ 
gree from the parts practiced to other parts of the body. This transfer 
ence is greatest to symmetrical and closely related parts. 
b. There is a close connection between different parts of the muscular 
system through nervous means. This connection is closer between parts 
related in function or in position. 
c. Will power and attention are educated by physical training. When 
developed by any special act they are developed for all other acts. 
Explanation of cross-education. 
With conclusions b and c established the explanation of transference is 
1 Damsch, Ueber Mitbewegungen in symmetrischen Muskeln an nicht-gelähmten 
Gliedern, Zt. f. klin. Med., 1891 XIX 170. 


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