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Liebermann, D. G., Levin, M. F., McIntyre, J., Weiss, P. L., & Berman, S. (2010). Arm path fragmentation and spatiotemporal features of hand reaching in healthy subjects and stroke patients. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2010, 5242–5245.
Abstract: Arm motion in healthy humans is characterized by smooth and relatively short paths. The current study focused on 3D reaching in stroke patients. Sixteen right-hemiparetic stroke patients and 8 healthy adults performed 42 reaching movements towards 3 visual targets located at an extended arm distance. Performance was assessed in terms of spatial and temporal features of the movement; i.e., hand path, arm posture and smoothness. Differences between groups and within subjects were hypothesized for spatial and temporal aspects of reaching under the assumption that both are independent. As expected, upper limb motion of patients was characterized by longer and jerkier hand paths and slower speeds. Assessment of the number of sub-movements within each movement did not clearly discriminate between groups. Principal component analyses revealed specific clusters of either spatial or temporal measures, which accounted for a large proportion of the variance in patients but not in healthy controls. These findings support the notion of a separation between spatial and temporal features of movement. Stroke patients may fail to integrate the two aspects when executing reaching movements towards visual targets.
Roijezon, U., Djupsjobacka, M., Bjorklund, M., Hager-Ross, C., Grip, H., & Liebermann, D. G. (2010). Kinematics of fast cervical rotations in persons with chronic neck pain: a cross-sectional and reliability study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 11, 222.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Assessment of sensorimotor function is useful for classification and treatment evaluation of neck pain disorders. Several studies have investigated various aspects of cervical motor functions. Most of these have involved slow or self-paced movements, while few have investigated fast cervical movements. Moreover, the reliability of assessment of fast cervical axial rotation has, to our knowledge, not been evaluated before. METHODS: Cervical kinematics was assessed during fast axial head rotations in 118 women with chronic nonspecific neck pain (NS) and compared to 49 healthy controls (CON). The relationship between cervical kinematics and symptoms, self-rated functioning and fear of movement was evaluated in the NS group. A sub-sample of 16 NS and 16 CON was re-tested after one week to assess the reliability of kinematic variables. Six cervical kinematic variables were calculated: peak speed, range of movement, conjunct movements and three variables related to the shape of the speed profile. RESULTS: Together, peak speed and conjunct movements had a sensitivity of 76% and a specificity of 78% in discriminating between NS and CON, of which the major part could be attributed to peak speed (NS: 226 +/- 88 degrees /s and CON: 348 +/- 92 degrees /s, p < 0.01). Peak speed was slower in NS compared to healthy controls and even slower in NS with comorbidity of low-back pain. Associations were found between reduced peak speed and self-rated difficulties with running, performing head movements, car driving, sleeping and pain. Peak speed showed reasonably high reliability, while the reliability for conjunct movements was poor. CONCLUSIONS: Peak speed of fast cervical axial rotations is reduced in people with chronic neck pain, and even further reduced in subjects with concomitant low back pain. Fast cervical rotation test seems to be a reliable and valid tool for assessment of neck pain disorders on group level, while a rather large between subject variation and overlap between groups calls for caution in the interpretation of individual assessments.