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Liebermann, D. G., & Defrin, R. (2009). Characteristics of the nociceptive withdrawal response elicited under aware and unaware conditions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 19(2), e114–22.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Nociceptive withdrawal reflexes (NWR) are subject to supraspinal modulation. Therefore, awareness about a noxious stimulation may affect its characteristics. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of different degrees of awareness on the NWR. METHOD: Eight subjects performed back and forth hand movements from a common starting point towards four visual targets during which NWR was evoked when subjects were either unaware or aware of a noxious stimulation (unaware-NWR and aware-NWR). For the comparison between the NWR under both conditions, onset latencies and kinematic variables were computed respectively from the recorded Biceps Brachii EMG and from the spatial coordinates of hand reflective markers. RESULTS: The onset latency of unaware-NWR (mean+/-SD 73.9+/-13 ms) was significantly shorter than that of the aware-NWR (91.1+/-27 ms, p<0.05). The total duration of the muscular activation was shorter in unaware-NWR than in aware-NWR. The slopes of the tangential velocity-time curves were steeper for unaware-NWR than for aware-NWR (p=0.057). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that supraspinal regulation of NWR under different degrees of awareness involves the re-parameterization of selected spatiotemporal aspects of a pre-structured motor response.
Keywords: Adult; Arm/*physiopathology; Attention; *Awareness; Cues; Female; Humans; Male; Movement; *Muscle Contraction; Muscle, Skeletal/*physiopathology; Pain/*physiopathology; *Reflex; *Startle Reaction
Melzer, I., Liebermann, D. G., Krasovsky, T., & Oddsson, L. I. E. (2010). Cognitive load affects lower limb force-time relations during voluntary rapid stepping in healthy old and young adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 65(4), 400–406.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Quick step execution may prevent falls when balance is lost; adding a concurrent task delays this function. We investigate whether push-off force-time relations during the execution of rapid voluntary stepping is affected by a secondary task in older and young adults. METHODS: Nineteen healthy older adults and 12 young adults performed rapid voluntary stepping under single- and dual-task conditions. Peak power, peak force, and time to peak force during preparatory and swing phases of stepping were extracted from center of pressure and ground reaction force data. RESULTS: For dual-task condition compared with single-task condition, older adults show a longer time to reach peak force during the preparation and swing phases compared with young adults (approximately 25% vs approximately 10%, respectively). Peak power and peak force were not affected by a concurrent attention-demanding task. CONCLUSION: Older adults have difficulty allocating sufficient attention for fast muscle recruitment when concurrently challenged by an attention-demanding task.
Keywords: *Accidental Falls; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aging/*physiology; Attention/physiology; Cognition/*physiology; Gait/*physiology; Humans; Postural Balance/*physiology; Reaction Time