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Merdler, T., Liebermann, D. G., Levin, M. F., & Berman, S. (2013). Arm-plane representation of shoulder compensation during pointing movements in patients with stroke. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 23(4), 938–947.
Abstract: Improvements in functional motor activities are often accompanied by motor compensations to overcome persistent motor impairment in the upper limb. Kinematic analysis is used to objectively quantify movement patterns including common motor compensations such as excessive trunk displacement during reaching. However, a common motor compensation to assist reaching, shoulder abduction, is not adequately characterized by current motion analysis approaches. We apply the arm-plane representation that accounts for the co-variation between movements of the whole arm, and investigate its ability to identify and quantify compensatory arm movements in stroke subjects when making forward arm reaches. This method has not been previously applied to the analysis of motion deficits. Sixteen adults with right post-stroke hemiparesis and eight healthy age-matched controls reached in three target directions (14 trials/target; sampling rate: 100Hz). Arm-plane movement was validated against endpoint, joint, and trunk kinematics and compared between groups. In stroke subjects, arm-plane measures were correlated with arm impairment (Fugl-Meyer Assessment) and ability (Box and Blocks) scores and were more sensitive than clinical measures to detect mild motor impairment. Arm-plane motion analysis provides new information about motor compensations involving the co-variation of shoulder and elbow movements that may help to understand the underlying motor deficits in patients with stroke.
Issurin, V. B., Liebermann, D. G., & Tenenbaum, G. (1994). Effect of vibratory stimulation training on maximal force and flexibility (Vol. 12).
Abstract: In this study, we investigated a new method of training for maximal strength and flexibility, which included exertion with superimposed vibration (vibratory stimulation, VS) on target muscles. Twenty-eight male athletes were divided into three groups, and trained three times a week for 3 weeks in one of the following conditions: (A) conventional exercises for strength of the arms and VS stretching exercises for the legs; (B) VS strength exercises for the arms and conventional stretching exercises for the legs; (C) irrelevant training (control group). The vibration was applied at 44 Hz while its amplitude was 3 mm. The effect of training was evaluated by means of isotonic maximal force, heel-to-heel length in the two-leg split across, and flex-and-reach test for body flexion. The VS strength training yielded an average increase in isotonic maximal strength of 49.8%, compared with an average gain of 16% with conventional training, while no gain was observed for the control group. The VS flexibility training resulted in an average gain in the legs split of 14.5 cm compared with 4.1 cm for the conventional training and 2 cm for the control groups, respectively. The ANOVA revealed significant pre-post training effects and an interaction between pre-post training and 'treatment' effects (P < 0.001) for the isotonic maximal force and both flexibility tests. It was concluded that superimposed vibrations applied for short periods allow for increased gains in maximal strength and flexibility.
Liebermann, D. G., Berman, S., Weingarden H., Levin, M. F., & Weiss, P. L. (2009). Kinematic features of arm and trunk movements in stroke patients and age-matched healthy controls during reaching in virtual and physical environments. In Virtual Rehabilitation International Conference (pp. 179–184).
Abstract: Motor performance of stroke patients and healthy individuals was compared in terms of selected kinematic features of arm and trunk movements while subjects reached for visual targets in virtual (VR) and physical (PH) environments. In PH, the targets were placed at an extended arm distance, while in VR comparably placed virtual targets were presented via GestureTek's IREX system. Our goal was to obtain further insights into research methods related to VR-based rehabilitation. Eight right-hemiparetic stroke patients (age =46-87 years) and 8 healthy adults (age =51-73 years) completed 84 reaching movements in VR and PH environments while seated. The results showed that arm and trunk movements differed in the two environments in patients and to a lesser extent in healthy individuals. Arm motion of patients became jerkier in VR, with larger paths and longer movement durations, and presented greater arm torsion (i.e., larger elbow rotations around the hand-shoulder axis). Interestingly, patients also showed a significant reduction of compensatory trunk movements during VR reaching. The findings indicate that when targets were perceived to be beyond hand reach, stroke patients may be less able to estimate 3D virtual target locations obtained from the 2D TV planar displays. This was not the case for healthy participants.
Frenkel-Toledo, S., Bentin, S., Perry, A., Liebermann, D. G., & Soroker, N. (2013). Dynamics of the EEG Power in the Frequency and Spatial Domains During Observation and Execution of Manual Movements. Brain Res, 1509, 43–57.
Abstract: Mu suppression is the attenuation of EEG power in the alpha frequency range (8-12Hz) while executing or observing a motor action. Whereas typically observed at central scalp sites, there are diverging reports about the extent of the attenuation over the cortical mantle, its exact frequency range and the specificity of this phenomenon. We investigated the modulation of EEG oscillations in frequency-bands from 4 to 12Hz at frontal, central, parietal and occipital sites during the execution of manual movements and during observation of similar actions from allocentric (i.e., facing the actor) and egocentric (i.e., seeing the actor from behind) viewpoints. Suppression was determined relative to observation of a non-biological movement. Action observation elicited greater suppression in the lower (8-10Hz) compared to the higher mu range (10-12Hz), and greater suppression in the entire 4-12Hz range at frontal and central sites compared to parietal and occipital sites. In addition, suppression tended to be greater during observation of a motor action from allocentric compared to egocentric viewpoints. During execution of movement, suppression of the EEG occurred primarily in the higher alpha range and was absent at occipital sites. In the theta range (4-8Hz), the EEG amplitude was suppressed during action observation and execution. The results suggest a functional distinction between modulation of mu and alpha rhythms, and between the higher and lower ranges of the mu rhythms. The activity of the presumed human mirror neuron system seems primarily evident in the lower mu range and in the theta range.
Levin, M. F., Berman, S., Weiss, N., Parmet, Y., Banina, M. C., Frenkel-Toledo, S., et al. (2023). ENHANCE proof-of-concept three-arm randomized trial: effects of reaching training of the hemiparetic upper limb restricted to the spasticity-free elbow range (Vol. 13).
Abstract: Post-stroke motor recovery processes remain unknown. Timescales and patterns of upper-limb (UL) recovery suggest a major impact of biological factors, with modest contributions from rehabilitation. We assessed a novel impairment-based training motivated by motor control theory where reaching occurs within the spasticity-free elbow range. Patients with subacute stroke (</= 6 month; n = 46) and elbow flexor spasticity were randomly allocated to a 10-day UL training protocol, either personalized by restricting reaching to the spasticity-free elbow range defined by the tonic stretch reflex threshold (TSRT) or non-personalized (non-restricted) and with/without anodal transcranial direct current stimulation. Outcomes assessed before, after, and 1 month post-intervention were elbow flexor TSRT angle and reach-to-grasp arm kinematics (primary) and stretch reflex velocity sensitivity, clinical impairment, and activity (secondary). Results were analyzed for 3 groups as well as those of the effects of impairment-based training. Clinical measures improved in both groups. Spasticity-free range training resulted in faster and smoother reaches, smaller (i.e., better) arm-plane path length, and closer-to-normal shoulder/elbow movement patterns. Non-personalized training improved clinical scores without improving arm kinematics, suggesting that clinical measures do not account for movement quality. Impairment-based training within a spasticity-free elbow range is promising since it may improve clinical scores together with arm movement quality.Clinical Trial Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique Identifier: NCT02725853; Initial registration date: 01/04/2016.