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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.
Levin, M. F., Liebermann, D. G., Parmet, Y., & Berman, S. (2015). Compensatory Versus Noncompensatory Shoulder Movements Used for Reaching in Stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair, .
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The extent to which the upper-limb flexor synergy constrains or compensates for arm motor impairment during reaching is controversial. This synergy can be quantified with a minimal marker set describing movements of the arm-plane. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether and how (a) upper-limb flexor synergy in patients with chronic stroke contributes to reaching movements to different arm workspace locations and (b) reaching deficits can be characterized by arm-plane motion. METHODS: Sixteen post-stroke and 8 healthy control subjects made unrestrained reaching movements to targets located in ipsilateral, central, and contralateral arm workspaces. Arm-plane, arm, and trunk motion, and their temporal and spatial linkages were analyzed. RESULTS: Individuals with moderate/severe stroke used greater arm-plane movement and compensatory trunk movement compared to those with mild stroke and control subjects. Arm-plane and trunk movements were more temporally coupled in stroke compared with controls. Reaching accuracy was related to different segment and joint combinations for each target and group: arm-plane movement in controls and mild stroke subjects, and trunk and elbow movements in moderate/severe stroke subjects. Arm-plane movement increased with time since stroke and when combined with trunk rotation, discriminated between different subject groups for reaching the central and contralateral targets. Trunk movement and arm-plane angle during target reaches predicted the subject group. CONCLUSIONS: The upper-limb flexor synergy was used adaptively for reaching accuracy by patients with mild, but not moderate/severe stroke. The flexor synergy, as parameterized by the amount of arm-plane motion, can be used by clinicians to identify levels of motor recovery in patients with stroke.
Kaufman-Cohen, Y., Portnoy, S., Levanon, Y., & Friedman, J. (2019). Does Object Height Affect the Dart Throwing Motion Angle during Seated Activities of Daily Living? J Mot Behav, , 1–10.
Abstract: Complex wrist motions are needed to complete various daily activities. Analyzing the multidimensional motion of the wrist is crucial for understanding our functional movement. Several studies have shown that numerous activities of daily livings (ADLs) are performed using an oblique plane of wrist motion from radial-extension to ulnar-flexion, named the Dart Throwing Motion (DTM) plane. To the best of our knowledge, the DTM plane angle performed during ADLs has not been compared between different heights (e.g. table, shoulder and head height), as is common when performing day-to-day tasks. In this study, we compared DTM plane angles when performing different ADLs at three different heights and examined the relationship between DTM plane angles and limb position. We found that height had a significant effect on the DTM plane angles – the mean DTM plane angle was greater at the lower level compared to the mid and higher levels. A significant effect of shoulder orientation on mean DTM plane angles was shown in the sagittal and coronal planes. Our findings support the importance of training daily tasks at different heights during rehabilitation following wrist injuries, in order to explore a large range of DTM angles, to accommodate needs of common ADLs.