Progress in rehabilitation medicine requires an understanding of the basic rules of motor coordination, as well as of the contribution of adaptive processes within the central nervous system to the patterns of impaired movements. We assume that patterns of voluntary movements reflect rules of coordination that are used by the intact central nervous system of healthy persons. In pathological conditions that may include cognitive, central neurological, and peripheral disorders, the central nervous system may reconsider these rules leading to different peripheral patterns of voluntary movements. In such conditions, changed motor patterns may be considered adaptive to a primary disorder. They may even be viewed as optimal for a given state of the system of movement production. We suggest that the emphasis of therapeutic approaches must be placed not on restoring the motor patterns to 'as close to normal as possible', but on assisting the central nervous system to develop optimal adaptive reactions to the original underlying problem.
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