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March 1997

Corticospinal Function and Voluntary Movement

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY


by Robert Porter and Roger Lemon, vol 45 in the Monographs of the Physiological Society series, 428 pp, with illus, $59.50, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(3):232. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550150008005

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The corticospinal system no longer can be viewed simply as an array of upper motor neurons in the cerebral cortex that project down to a similar array of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord. Recent advances in understanding what cortical neurons do during voluntary movements and how corticospinal axons ramify in the spinal cord require us to rethink our notions of corticospinal function. This monograph, first published in hardcover in 1993 and now more affordable in paperback, reviews the past 2 decades of this progress.

This volume authoritatively condenses an extensive body of related literature, to which the authors have been major original contributors. Readers should not be dissuaded by the caveat emptor contained in the preface, which states that the material presented draws "heavily on the personal observations and experience of the authors and their associates." Rather, the authors' expository approach allows them to present the material unencumbered

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