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How the brain controls walking

Take part in a study evaluating how the brain controls walking.

  • Research Participant
  • Participate


There are well established methods of measuring brain activity in stationary situations (i.e. scanners using techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)). Measuring brain activity during physical movement, such as walking, poses a challenge as people cannot actually walk within the scanner. This study will use a new method of measuring brain activity using a scanner that combines two different methods (positron emission tomography (PET) and MRI to evaluate how the brain controls walking.

Volunteer Criteria

You must be aged 60-70 years old to take part. The age limit is due to it being a new method and the testing procedures are relatively demanding. The research team would like to confirm the method is achievable first in a small number of people, before going onto larger studies including a wider range of ages.

You must be able to walk without the use of a walking aid for a minimum of 5 minutes.

For safety reasons individuals with diabetes or contraindications to having an MRI scan will not be able to take part.

What will I be asked to do?

The study will involve two visits to the Positron Emission Tomography Centre, Newcastle University. At each visit you will be asked to undergo two brain scans after performing some simple standing and walking tasks. Each visit will last 3-4 hours. 

When and where?

Appointments will be arranged separately. 

The study will take place at the Positron Emission Tomography Centre, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle University.

Will I get anything for taking part?

Travel expenses will be reimbursed and you will be provided with refreshments and a meal at each visit.


  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Centre
  • Building 15, Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE4 6BE

How the brain controls walking Discussion

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  • patsypens
    3rd September 2020

    What a shame, I’m too OLD for this survey, and probably not physically able enough as I’m still awaiting a Covid-delayed knee replacement, but I look forward to reading the results!