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Effect of Maximally Relaxed Lying Posture on the Severity of Stuttering in Young Adults Who Stutter

Abdulaziz Almudhi and Hamayun Zafar

The current study was carried out with the aim of investigating the effect of maximally relaxed lying posture on disfluencies in young adults who stutter. A total of 24 participants (17 males, seven females; mean age = 24.9 ± 6.2 years) with developmental stuttering were a part of the study. The participants were asked to perform spontaneous speaking and reading aloud tasks in standard sitting and maximally relaxed lying postures. The severity of stuttering for the studied postures was estimated by using the Stuttering Severity Instrument. The results on the Stuttering Severity Instrument showed that stuttering parameters improved during the maximally relaxed lying posture compared with the standard sitting position. The results are discussed in the light of motor control concepts. It is concluded that the maximally relaxed lying posture can facilitate improvement in stuttering scores during spontaneous speaking as well as reading aloud in young adults who stutter. Reduced stuttering scores in the maximally relaxed lying posture suggest that speech therapists can position participants in this position while treating people who stutter.

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Changes in Intermuscular Coherence as a Function of Age and Phase of Speech Production During an Overt Reading Task

Alesha Reed, Jacqueline Cummine, Neesha Bhat, Shivraj Jhala, Reyhaneh Bakhtiari, and Carol A. Boliek

Purpose: The authors evaluated changes in intermuscular coherence (IMC) of orofacial and speech breathing muscles across phase of speech production in healthy younger and older adults. Method: Sixty adults (30 younger = M: 26.97 year; 30 older = M: 66.37 year) read aloud a list of 40 words. IMC was evaluated across phase: preparation (300 ms before speech onset), initiation (300 ms after onset), and total execution (entire word). Results: Orofacial IMC was lowest in the initiation, higher in preparation, and highest for the total execution phase. Chest wall IMC was lowest for the preparation and initiation and highest for the total execution phase. Despite age-related differences in accuracy, neuromuscular modulation for phase was similar between groups. Conclusion: These results expand our knowledge of speech motor control by demonstrating that IMC is sensitive to phase of speech planning and production.

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Effects of Daily Hand Activities on Age-Related Declines of Dynamic Motor Function in Individual Fingers

Tomoko Aoki and Koji Kadota

The present study examined the effects of daily activities of the hands on finger motor function in older adults. Maximum tapping frequency with each finger during single-finger tapping and alternate movements of index–middle, middle–ring, and ring–little finger pairs during double-finger tapping were compared between older adults who used their hands actively in their daily lives and those who did not. The active participants had significantly faster tapping rates for the ring finger in the single-finger tapping and the middle–ring finger pair in the double-finger tapping than did the inactive participants. Thus, daily activity of the hands in older adults could be effective at preventing the loss of dynamic motor function in individual fingers, especially with greater difficulty in movement, resulting from the degeneration with age.

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Neuromuscular Fatigue in Individuals With Intellectual Disability: Comparison Between Sedentary Individuals and Athletes

Rihab Borji, Firas Zghal, Nidhal Zarrouk, Sonia Sahli, and Haithem Rebai

The authors explored neuromuscular fatigue in athletes with intellectual disability (AID) compared with sedentary individuals with intellectual disability (SID) and individuals with typical development. Force, voluntary activation level, potentiated resting twitch, and electromyography signals were assessed during isometric maximal voluntary contractions performed before and immediately after an isometric submaximal exhaustive contraction (15% isometric maximal voluntary contractions) and during recovery period. AID presented shorter time to task failure than SID (p < .05). The three groups presented similar isometric maximal voluntary contraction decline and recovery kinetic. Both groups with intellectual disability presented higher voluntary activation level and root mean square normalized to peak-to-peak M-wave amplitude declines (p < .05) compared with individuals with typical development. These declines were more pronounced in SID (p < .05) than in AID. The AID recovered their initial voluntary activation level later than controls, whereas SID did not. SID presented lower potentiated resting twitch decline compared with AID and controls with faster recovery (p < .05). AID presented attenuated central fatigue and accentuated peripheral fatigue compared with their sedentary counterparts, suggesting a neuromuscular profile close to that of individuals with typical development.

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The Influence of Cognitive Dual Tasks on Concussion Balance Test Performance

Nathan Morelli, Nicholas R. Heebner, Courtney J. DeFeo, and Matthew C. Hoch

Objective: To determine the influence of a cognitive dual task on postural sway and balance errors during the Concussion Balance Test (COBALT). Methods: Twenty healthy adults (12 females, eight males; aged 21.95 ± 3.77 years; height = 169.95 ± 9.95 cm; weight = 69.58 ± 15.03 kg) partook in this study and completed single- and dual-task versions of a reduced COBALT. Results: Sway velocity decreased during dual-task head rotations on foam condition (p = .021, ES = −0.57). A greater number of movement errors occurred during dual-task head rotations on firm surface (p = .005, ES = 0.71), visual field flow on firm surface (p = .008, ES = 0.68), and head rotations on foam surface (p < .001, ES = 1.61) compared with single-task conditions. Cognitive performance was preserved throughout different sensory conditions of the COBALT (p = .985). Discussion: Cognitive dual tasks influenced postural control and destabilized movements during conditions requiring advanced sensory integration and reweighting demands. Dual-task versions of the COBALT should be explored as a clinical tool to identify residual deficits past the acute stages of concussion recovery.

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Effects of Varying Overground Walking Speeds on Lower-Extremity Muscle Synergies in Healthy Individuals

Manuel J. Escalona, Daniel Bourbonnais, Michel Goyette, Damien Le Flem, Cyril Duclos, and Dany H. Gagnon

The effects of walking speeds on lower-extremity muscle synergies (MSs) were investigated among 20 adults who walked 20 m at SLOW (0.6 ± 0.2 m/s), natural (NAT; 1.4 ± 0.1 m/s), and FAST (1.9 ± 0.1 m/s) speeds. Surface electromyography of eight lower-extremity muscles was recorded before extracting MSs using a nonnegative matrix factorization algorithm. Increasing walking speed tended to merge MSs associated with weight acceptance and limb deceleration, whereas reducing walking speed does not change the number and composition of MSs. Varying gait speed, particularly decreasing speed, may represent a gait training strategy needing additional attention given its effects on MSs.

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Dual-Task Cost and Related Clinical Features in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Cagla Ozkul, Arzu Guclu-Gunduz, Kader Eldemir, Yasemin Apaydin, Cagri Gulsen, Gokhan Yazici, Fatih Soke, and Ceyla Irkec

This study aimed to investigate the dual-task cost of both motor and cognitive performances in patients with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and in healthy controls and to determine their relationships with clinical features in PwMS. The participants performed motor tasks (postural stability, walking, and manual dexterity) and cognitive tasks (mental tracking and verbal fluency) under single- and dual-task conditions. The results showed that postural stability under dual-task conditions did not change, whereas walking and manual dexterity deteriorated, regardless of the concurrent cognitive task, in PwMS (median Expanded Disability Status Scale score: 1) and the healthy controls. Verbal fluency decreased during postural stability, whereas it increased during walking, and it was maintained during manual dexterity in both groups. Mental tracking did not change during walking; it declined during manual dexterity in both groups. Mental tracking during postural stability deteriorated in PwMS, while it did not change in the healthy controls. In general, dual-task costs were associated with baseline performances of tasks rather than clinical features. Therefore, baseline performances of both tasks should be increased for improving dual-task performance in PwMS.

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Utilizing the Variability of Practice in Physical Execution, Action Observation, and Motor Imagery: Similar or Dissimilar Mechanisms?

Davoud Fazeli, HamidReza Taheri, and Alireza Saberi Kakhki

The simulation theory argues that physical execution, action observation, and imagery share similar underlying mechanisms. Accordingly, applying a high-level psychological variable (variability of practice) should have a similar effect on all three modes. To test this theory, a total of 90 right-handed students participated in this study and were randomly divided into variable versus constant groups in three practice conditions, including physical, observational, and imagery. After a pretest (10 random trials of the putting task), the participants completed 50 practice trials. The groups performed/observed/imagined the task in the variable (different distances to different goals) or constant (fixed distance and goal) practice conditions. Also, there was an extra variable group in the physical and observational conditions, deprived of watching the feedback from the action. The participants completed a retention test 24 hr after the training. The effect of practice variability was observed in physical and observational conditions, but was not seen in the imagery condition. The no-feedback groups did not perform significantly differently from the imagery groups. The reason could be the lack of actual visual feedback during imagery.

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The Interaction Between Long-Term Memory and Postural Control: Different Effects of Episodic and Semantic Tasks

Maëlle Tixier, Corinne Cian, Pierre-Alain Barraud, Rafael Laboissiere, and Stéphane Rousset

The aim of this experiment was to investigate the postural response to specific types of long-term memory (episodic vs. semantic) in young adults performing an unperturbed upright stance. Although a similar level of steadiness (mean distance) was observed, dual tasking induced a higher velocity, more energy in the higher frequency range (power spectral density), and less regularity (sample entropy) compared with a simple postural task. Moreover, mean velocity was always greater in the semantic than in the episodic task. The differences in postural control during dual tasking may result from the types of processes involved in the memory task. Findings suggest a spatial process sharing between posture and episodic memory.

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Volume 25 (2021): Issue 1 (Jan 2021)