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Svend Erik Mathiassen

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Liana M. Tennant, Erika Nelson-Wong, Joshua Kuest, Gabriel Lawrence, Kristen Levesque, David Owens, Jeremy Prisby, Sarah Spivey, Stephanie R. Albin, Kristen Jagger, Jeff M. Barrett, James D. Wong and Jack P. Callaghan

Spinal stiffness and mobility assessments vary between clinical and research settings, potentially hindering the understanding and treatment of low back pain. A total of 71 healthy participants were evaluated using 2 clinical assessments (posteroanterior spring and passive intervertebral motion) and 2 quantitative measures: lumped mechanical stiffness of the lumbar spine and local tissue stiffness (lumbar erector spinae and supraspinous ligament) measured via myotonometry. The authors hypothesized that clinical, mechanical, and local tissue measures would be correlated, that clinical tests would not alter mechanical stiffness, and that males would demonstrate greater lumbar stiffness than females. Clinical, lumped mechanical, and tissue stiffness were not correlated; however, gradings from the posteroanterior spring and passive intervertebral motion tests were positively correlated with each other. Clinical assessments had no effect on lumped mechanical stiffness. The males had greater lumped mechanical and lumbar erector spinae stiffness compared with the females. The lack of correlation between clinical, tissue, and lumped mechanical measures of spinal stiffness indicates that the use of the term “stiffness” by clinicians may require reevaluation; clinicians should be confident that they are not altering mechanical stiffness of the spine through segmental mobility assessments; and greater resting lumbar erector stiffness in males suggests that sex should be considered in the assessment and treatment of the low back.

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Chung-Ju Huang, Hsin-Yu Tu, Ming-Chun Hsueh, Yi-Hsiang Chiu, Mei-Yao Huang and Chien-Chih Chou

This study examined the effects of acute aerobic exercise on sustained attention and discriminatory ability of children with and without learning disabilities (LD). Fifty-one children with LD and 49 typically developing children were randomly assigned to exercise or control groups. The participants in the exercise groups performed a 30-min session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, whereas the control groups watched a running/exercise-related video. Neuropsychological tasks, the Daueraufmerksamkeit sustained attention test, and the determination tests were assessed before and after each treatment. Exercise significantly benefited performance in sustained attention and discriminatory ability, particularly in higher accuracy rate and shorter reaction time. In addition, the LD exercise group demonstrated greater improvement than the typically developing exercise group. The findings suggest that the acute aerobic exercise influenced the sustained attention and the discriminatory function in children with LD by enhancing regulation of mental states and allocation of attentional resources.

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Jaap van Dieen

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Kimberly Bigelow and Michael L. Madigan

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Barbara Baker, Eric Koch, Kevin Vicari and Kyle Walenta

Introduction: Sports-related concussions (SRCs) have received attention due to their prevalence in youth. An SRC results from a strong force causing neurological impairment. Recent research has recommended rehabilitation within the first week post-SRC after 24 to 48 hours of rest. The postacute phase is defined as 48 hours to 7 days post-SRC. It is imperative to evaluate the most effective mode and intensity of physical activity to reduce symptoms and improve outcomes. Methods: CINAHL, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science databases were used to search the terms “brain concussion” AND “exercise” and variations of these terms. The evidence level for each study was evaluated using the 2011 Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine Guide. The methodological rigor of each study was evaluated using a scale adapted from Medlicott and Harris. Results: Two thousand sixty-eight records were identified. Six studies were included in this systematic review. Three studies were classified as moderately strong. The remaining 3 studies were considered weak. Five of the studies used either a cycle ergometer or a treadmill. The sixth study used walking, cycling, and swimming, as well as sports drills. All of these modes of exercise were determined to be safe. All studies utilized low- and moderate-intensity interventions, which were found to be nondetrimental and showed improved recovery time and symptom resolution. Five of the studies also incorporated components of high-intensity exercise that was also found to be nondetrimental, and they showed a positive influence on recovery time and symptom resolution. However, all activity in each of the reviewed studies started at a low level and progressed up to a higher level only as each individual client’s symptoms permitted. Discussion: Overall, this review found that various modes of activity at light-, moderate-, and high-intensity levels are efficacious and can be safely used during the postacute phase of SRC. Conclusion: Though the volume of literature at this time is limited, therapists should consider prescribing closely monitored individualized exercise programs utilizing progressive intensities when treating patients during the postacute phase of SRC.

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David C. Kingston and Stacey M. Acker

A musculoskeletal model of the right lower limb was developed to estimate 3D tibial contact forces in high knee flexion postures. This model determined the effect of intersegmental contact between thigh–calf and heel–gluteal structures on tibial contact forces. This model includes direct tracking and 3D orientation of intersegmental contact force, femoral translations from in vivo studies, wrapping of knee extensor musculature, and a novel optimization constraint for multielement muscle groups. Model verification consisted of calculating the error between estimated tibial compressive forces and direct measurements from the Grand Knee Challenge during movements to ∼120° of knee flexion as no high knee flexion data are available. Tibial compression estimates strongly fit implant data during walking (R 2 = .83) and squatting (R 2 = .93) with a root mean squared difference of .47 and .16 body weight, respectively. Incorporating intersegmental contact significantly reduced model estimates of peak tibial anterior–posterior shear and increased peak medial–lateral shear during the static phase of high knee flexion movements by an average of .33 and .07 body weight, respectively. This model supports prior work in that intersegmental contact is a critical parameter when estimating tibial contact forces in high knee flexion movements across a range of culturally and occupationally relevant postures.

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Seong-won Han, Andrew Sawatsky, Azim Jinha and Walter Herzog

Vastus medialis (VM) weakness is thought to alter patellar tracking, thereby changing the loading of the patellofemoral joint (PFJ), resulting in patellofemoral pain. However, it is challenging to measure VM force and weakness in human studies, nor is it possible to measure the associated mechanical changes in the PFJ. To obtain fundamental insight into VM weakness and its effects on PFJ mechanics, the authors determined PFJ loading in the presence of experimentally simulated VM weakness. Skeletally mature New Zealand White rabbits were used (n = 6), and the vastus lateralis, VM, and rectus femoris were stimulated individually through 3 custom-built nerve cuff electrodes. Muscle torque and PFJ pressure distribution were measured while activating all muscles simultaneously, or when the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris were activated, while VM was not, to simulate a quadriceps muscle strength imbalance. For a given muscular joint torque, peak pressures were greater and joint contact areas were smaller when simulating VM weakness compared with the condition where all muscles were activated simultaneously. The results in the rabbit model support that VM weakness results in altered PFJ loading, which may cause patellofemoral pain, often associated with a strength imbalance of the knee extensor muscle group.