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Friedman, J., & Korman, M. (2016). Offline Optimization of the Relative Timing of Movements in a Sequence Is Blocked by Retroactive Behavioral Interference. Front. Hum. Neurosci., 10, 623.
Abstract: Acquisition of motor skills often involves the concatenation of single movements into sequences. Along the course of learning, sequential performance becomes progressively faster and smoother, presumably by optimization of both motor planning and motor execution. Following its encoding during training, “how-to” memory undergoes consolidation, reflecting transformations in performance and its neurobiological underpinnings over time. This offline post-training memory process is characterized by two phenomena: reduced sensitivity to interference and the emergence of delayed, typically overnight, gains in performance. Here, using a training protocol that effectively induces motor sequence memory consolidation, we tested temporal and kinematic parameters of performance within (online) and between (offline) sessions, and their sensitivity to retroactive interference. One group learned a given finger-to-thumb opposition sequence (FOS), and showed robust delayed (consolidation) gains in the number of correct sequences performed at 24 h. A second group learned an additional (interference) FOS shortly after the first and did not show delayed gains. Reduction of touch times and inter-movement intervals significantly contributed to the overall offline improvement of performance overnight. However, only the offline inter-movement interval shortening was selectively blocked by the interference experience. Velocity and amplitude, comprising movement time, also significantly changed across the consolidation period but were interference-insensitive. Moreover, they paradoxically canceled out each other. Current results suggest that shifts in the representation of the trained sequence are subserved by multiple processes: from distinct changes in kinematic characteristics of individual finger movements to high-level, temporal reorganization of the movements as a unit. Each of these processes has a distinct time course and a specific susceptibility to retroactive interference. This multiple-component view may bridge the gap in understanding the link between the behavioral changes, which define online and offline learning, and the biological mechanisms that support those changes.
Keywords: learning; interference; consolidation; finger movements; kinematics
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.
Keywords: Kinematics; Arm movement; Rehabilitation
Harel Arzi, Tal Krasovsky, Moshe Pritsch, & Dario G. Liebermann. (2014). Movement control in patients with shoulder instability: a comparison between patients after open surgery and nonoperated patients. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 23(7), 982–992.
Open surgery to correct shoulder instability is deemed to facilitate recovery of static and dynamic motor functions. Postoperative assessments focus primarily on static outcomes (e.g., repositioning accuracy). We introduce kinematic measures of arm smoothness to assess shoulder patients after open surgery and compare them with nonoperated patients. Performance among both groups of patients was hypothesized to differ. Postsurgery patients were expected to match healthy controls.
All participants performed pointing movements with the affected/dominant arm fully extended at fast, preferred, and slow speeds (36 trials per subject). Kinematic data were collected (100 Hz, 3 seconds), and mixed-design analyses of variance (group, speed) were performed with movement time, movement amplitude, acceleration time, and model-observed similarities as dependent variables. Nonparametric tests were performed for number of velocity peaks.
Nonoperated and postsurgery patients showed similarities at preferred and faster movement speeds but not at slower speed. Postsurgery patients were closer to maximally smoothed motion and differed from healthy controls mainly during slow arm movements (closer to maximal smoothness, larger movement amplitude, shorter movement time, and lower number of peaks; i.e., less movement fragmentation).
Arm kinematic analyses suggest that open surgery stabilizes the shoulder but does not necessarily restore normal movement quality. Patients with recurrent anterior shoulder instability (RASI) seem to implement a “safe” but nonadaptive mode of action whereby preplanned stereotypical movements may be executed without depending on feedback. Rehabilitation of RASI patients should focus on restoring feedback-based movement control. Clinical assessment of RASI patients should include higher order kinematic descriptors.
Keywords: Smoothness; kinesthesis; arm kinematics; shoulder instability; open surgery