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IggytheDestroyer
01-03-2006, 11:07 PM
This is kind of crazy. But just in case there is someone here who can answer or even give a guess, I thought I'd ask...

One of the main characters in my book is a parapalegic. He has been paralyzed from the waste down for six years when circumstances arise which give him a brand new body. Not just the use of his atrophied legs, but a new body, instantly.

My question is, would he have to "relearn" how to use his new legs since it had been so long? I would think that there would be a good deal of having to readjust, but I have questions as to how long that might take. The guy doesn't have time to go into therapy or anything since he is thrown into danger almost immediately.

Would he be able to hobble along, leaning on a stick? Or would he have to crawl for a while?

SusanR
01-03-2006, 11:14 PM
The answer is....
.................................it depends.


You're saying your paraplegic MC keeps his same old brain but gets a brand new body? I'm assuming it's an adult body, right? This is so far away from current science, you can basically make it up.

To my mind, he wouldn't have to crawl first, because the progression of an infant's motor skills has to do with a developing BRAIN, not so much the peripheral motor system. If he's got an adult brain, one which once knew how to tell the muscles to walk, it would make sense to me that after a little shakiness, he should be able to walk just fine. He might have to practice a little....say, a few days.

This could be fantasized to be much less of a production than even reattaching a severed limb. Because the body isn't having to repair nerves, arteries, veins, muscles, ligaments, etc. Nothing has been damaged. It just has to be "switched on" and regulated.

SusanR

IggytheDestroyer
01-03-2006, 11:26 PM
The answer is....
.................................it depends.


You're saying your paraplegic MC keeps his same old brain but gets a brand new body? I'm assuming it's an adult body, right? This is so far away from current science, you can basically make it up.

To my mind, he wouldn't have to crawl first, because the progression of an infant's motor skills has to do with a developing BRAIN, not so much the peripheral motor system. If he's got an adult brain, one which once knew how to tell the muscles to walk, it would make sense to me that after a little shakiness, he should be able to walk just fine. He might have to practice a little....say, a few days.

This could be fantasized to be much less of a production than even reattaching a severed limb. Because the body isn't having to repair nerves, arteries, veins, muscles, ligaments, etc. Nothing has been damaged. It just has to be "switched on" and regulated.

SusanR
Yes, I know that it is scientifically impossible to tell for sure what would be the results of something like this happening. But I had kind of thought the same thing you said, about the shakiness and having to practice.

It makes sense that an adult brain would still remember how to walk, but as I was writing the chapter in which this takes place, I began to wonder if I was giving him too easy of a time after 6 years.

They say you never forget how to ride a bike. Makes sense that it would be harder to forget something like walking, especially if the event that took away that ability happened well into adulthood.

Thanks, Susan. Your post has me thinking now. ;)

DaveKuzminski
01-04-2006, 12:38 AM
Just don't make him suddenly capable of long distance running. The new body might obey him, but it's probably not conditioned for anything extreme.

IggytheDestroyer
01-04-2006, 01:10 AM
Just don't make him suddenly capable of long distance running. The new body might obey him, but it's probably not conditioned for anything extreme.Hehe. "Extreme" is exactly what it is conditioned for.

Maryn
01-04-2006, 05:54 PM
Consider renting the movie Starman, in which you see a very skilled performance of someone new to a healthy adult body learn how to use it. Jeff Bridges' physical acting, playing an alien being who creates/assumes the body of a widow's beloved husband to keep from scaring her, was brilliant.

Maryn, who thinks you'll agree if you see it

Shwebb
01-04-2006, 06:31 PM
My completely unresearched, unqualified opinion, but I'm wondering . . . is this a "new" or "used" body?

If it's a previous-owned model, the body itself would have muscle conditioning and a memory, of sorts, of its own of moving and walking.

If it's a new body, I would think it would have to coordinate with the brain and learn how to move and then learn how to work on balance before walking.

rtilryarms
01-04-2006, 09:48 PM
Assuming this is sci-fi or fantasy, anything is possible. Someday replacement bodies will happen.

There was some interesting reseach done on this very subject and it was discovered that motor control was lost quite quickly when certain limbs were restricted from use for periods of time. I'm sure you can google this info but even astronauts have some serious re-learning to do when faced with using their legs again in gravity.

Birol
01-04-2006, 11:41 PM
If I were writing something like this, I would wonder if there would be an adjustment period as the brain adapts and grows accustomed to the new body. The problem with the old body was not the signals the brain was sending, but the receipt of them. There might be some adjustment as the brain says, "Oh, wait. You actually did what I told you to, Legs. But I didn't mean for you to swing quite THAT far over the side of the bed."

This would work well if the body is in much better shape physically with different abilities than the old body had before the accident. Think of it like someone learning to maneuver in a world with lesser gravity. The force needed to stand suddenly doesn't make you just stand, but causes you to jump off the ground.

IggytheDestroyer
01-05-2006, 07:42 AM
Consider renting the movie Starman, in which you see a very skilled performance of someone new to a healthy adult body learn how to use it. Jeff Bridges' physical acting, playing an alien being who creates/assumes the body of a widow's beloved husband to keep from scaring her, was brilliant.

Maryn, who thinks you'll agree if you see it
I've seen Starman and you're right. I hadn't thought of that. While the alien character had to become accostomed to a new body, having never actually inhabited a human body, it would probably have a particularly harder time adjusting than would my character. But I remember his leg movements were quite erratic, taking larger steps than needed and being very "jerky". Good call.

Thanks.

IggytheDestroyer
01-05-2006, 07:44 AM
Assuming this is sci-fi or fantasy, anything is possible. Someday replacement bodies will happen.

There was some interesting reseach done on this very subject and it was discovered that motor control was lost quite quickly when certain limbs were restricted from use for periods of time. I'm sure you can google this info but even astronauts have some serious re-learning to do when faced with using their legs again in gravity.
Thanks, I'll definately Google that and see what I come up with.

IggytheDestroyer
01-05-2006, 07:50 AM
If I were writing something like this, I would wonder if there would be an adjustment period as the brain adapts and grows accustomed to the new body. The problem with the old body was not the signals the brain was sending, but the receipt of them. There might be some adjustment as the brain says, "Oh, wait. You actually did what I told you to, Legs. But I didn't mean for you to swing quite THAT far over the side of the bed."

This would work well if the body is in much better shape physically with different abilities than the old body had before the accident. Think of it like someone learning to maneuver in a world with lesser gravity. The force needed to stand suddenly doesn't make you just stand, but causes you to jump off the ground.
Yes, I had thought of him not being able to use the muscles or having a hard time getting them to respond, but I hadn't thought of him accidently over-using them. It makes sense that something like that might happen since the new body is, indeed, better and more fit than the old one ever was.

Thanks for the input. You all have given me some new things to consider. :)