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Krasovsky, T., Berman, S., & Liebermann, D. G. (2010). Kinematic features of continuous hand reaching movements under simple and complex rhythmical constraints. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 20(4), 636–641.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Auditory cues are known to alter movement kinematics in healthy people as well as in people with neurological conditions (e.g., Parkinson's disease or stroke). Pacing movement to rhythmical constraints is known to change both the spatial and temporal features of movement. However, the effect of complexity of pacing on the spatial and temporal kinematic properties is still poorly understood. The current study investigated spatial and temporal aspects of movement (path and speed, respectively) and their integration while subjects followed simple isochronous or complex non-isochronous rhythmical constraints. Spatiotemporal decoupling was expected under the latter constraint. METHODS: Ten subjects performed point-to-point hand movements towards visual targets on the surface of a hemisphere, while following continuous auditory cues of different pace and meter. The spatial and temporal properties of movement were compared to geodesic paths and unimodal bell-shaped speed profiles, respectively. Multiple two-way RM-ANOVAs (pace [1-2 Hz] x meter [duple-triple]) were performed on the different kinematic variables calculated to assess hand deviations from the model data (p< or = 0.05). RESULTS: As expected, increasing pace resulted in straighter hand paths and smoother speed profiles. Meter, however, affected only the path (shorter and straighter under triple) without significantly changing speed. Such an effect was observed at the slow pace only. CONCLUSIONS: Under simple rhythmic cues, an increase in pace causes spontaneous adjustments in spatial features (straighter hand paths) while preserving temporal ones (maximally-smoothed hand speeds). Complex rhythmical cues in contrast perturb spatiotemporal coupling and challenge movement control. These results may have important practical implications in motor rehabilitation.
Keywords: *Acoustic Stimulation; Adult; Biomechanics; *Cues; Female; Hand/*physiology; Humans; Male; Movement/*physiology
Melzer, I., Krasovsky, T., Oddsson, L. I. E., & Liebermann, D. G. (2010). Age-related differences in lower-limb force-time relation during the push-off in rapid voluntary stepping. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon), 25(10), 989–994.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This study investigated the force-time relationship during the push-off stage of a rapid voluntary step in young and older healthy adults, to study the assumption that when balance is lost a quick step may preserve stability. The ability to achieve peak propulsive force within a short time is critical for the performance of such a quick powerful step. We hypothesized that older adults would achieve peak force and power in significantly longer times compared to young people, particularly during the push-off preparatory phase. METHODS: Fifteen young and 15 older volunteers performed rapid forward steps while standing on a force platform. Absolute anteroposterior and body weight normalized vertical forces during the push-off in the preparation and swing phases were used to determine time to peak and peak force, and step power. Two-way analyses of variance ('Group' [young-older] by 'Phase' [preparation-swing]) were used to assess our hypothesis (P </= 0.05). FINDINGS: Older people exerted lower peak forces (anteroposterior and vertical) than young adults, but not necessarily lower peak power. More significantly, they showed a longer time to peak force, particularly in the vertical direction during the preparation phase. INTERPRETATIONS: Older adults generate propulsive forces slowly and reach lower magnitudes, mainly during step preparation. The time to achieve a peak force and power, rather than its actual magnitude, may account for failures in quickly performing a preventive action. Such delay may be associated with the inability to react and recruit muscles quickly. Thus, training elderly to step fast in response to relevant cues may be beneficial in the prevention of falls.
Keywords: Accidental Falls/prevention & control; Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aging/physiology; *Biomechanics; Female; Gait/*physiology; Humans; Male; *Postural Balance; Walking/*physiology