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.
Chung-Ju Huang, Hsin-Yu Tu, Ming-Chun Hsueh, Yi-Hsiang Chiu, Mei-Yao Huang and Chien-Chih Chou
Jaap van Dieen
Erika M. Pliner, April A. Dukes, Kurt E. Beschorner and Arash Mahboobin
There is a need for pedagogical techniques that increase student engagement among underrepresented groups in engineering. Relating engineering content to student interests, particularly through biomechanics applications, shows promise toward engaging a diverse group of students. This study investigates the effects of student interests on engagement and performance in 10th grade students enrolled in a summer program for students underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The authors assessed the effects of interest-tailored lectures on student engagement and performance in a 5-week program with bioengineering workshops, focusing on the delivery of biomechanics content. A total of 31 students received interest-tailored lectures (intervention) and 23 students received only generic lectures (control) in biomechanics. In addition, the authors assessed the effects of teaching method (lecture, classroom activities, and laboratory tours) on student engagement. The authors found interest-tailored lectures to significantly increase student engagement in lecture compared with generic lectures. Students that received interest-tailored lectures had an insignificant, but meaningful 5% increase in student performance. Students rated laboratory tours higher in engagement than other teaching methods. This study provides detailed examples that can directly assist student teaching and outreach in biomechanics. Furthermore, the pedagogical techniques in this study can be used to increase engagement of underrepresented students in engineering.
Kimberly Bigelow and Michael L. Madigan
Anna Lee, Tanvi Bhatt, Xuan Liu, Yiru Wang, Shuaijie Wang and Yi-Chung (Clive) Pai
The purpose was to examine and compare the longer-term generalization between 2 different practice dosages for a single-session treadmill slip-perturbation training when reexposed to an overground slip 6 months later. A total of 45 older adults were conveniently assigned to either 24 or 40 slip-like treadmill perturbation trials or a third control group. Overground slips were given immediately after initial training, and at 6 months after initial training in order to examine immediate and longer-term effects. The performance (center of mass stability and vertical limb support) and fall percentage from the laboratory-induced overground slips (at initial posttraining and at 6 mo) were measured and compared between groups. Both treadmill slip-perturbation groups showed immediate generalization at the initial posttraining test and longer-term generalization at the 6-month retest. The higher-practice-dosage group performed significantly better than the control group (P < .05), with no difference between the lower-practice-dosage and the control groups at the 6-month retest (P > .05). A single session of treadmill slip-perturbation training showed a positive effect for reducing older adults’ fall risk for laboratory-induced overground slips. A higher-practice dosage of treadmill slip perturbations could be more beneficial for further reducing fall risk.
Jessica G. Hunter, Alexander M.B. Smith, Lena M. Sciarratta, Stephen Suydam, Jae Kun Shim and Ross H. Miller
Studies of running mechanics often use a standardized lab shoe, ostensibly to reduce variance between subjects; however, this may induce unnatural running mechanics. The purpose of this study was to compare the step rate, vertical average loading rate, and ground contact time when running in standardized lab shoes versus participants’ normal running shoes. Ground reaction forces were measured while the participants ran overground in both shoe conditions at a self-selected speed. The Student’s t-test revealed that the vertical average loading rate magnitude was smaller in lab shoes versus normal shoes (42.09 [11.08] vs 47.35 [10.81] body weight/s, P = .013), while the step rate (170.92 [9.43] vs 168.98 [9.63] steps/min, P = .053) and ground contact time were similar (253  vs 251  ms, P = .5227) and the variance of all outcomes was similar in lab shoes versus normal shoes. Our results indicate that using standardized lab shoes during testing may underestimate the loads runners actually experience during their typical mileage.
Sarah A. Roelker, Elena J. Caruthers, Rachel K. Hall, Nicholas C. Pelz, Ajit M.W. Chaudhari and Robert A. Siston
Two optimization techniques, static optimization (SO) and computed muscle control (CMC), are often used in OpenSim to estimate the muscle activations and forces responsible for movement. Although differences between SO and CMC muscle function have been reported, the accuracy of each technique and the combined effect of optimization and model choice on simulated muscle function is unclear. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively compare the SO and CMC estimates of muscle activations and forces during gait with the experimental data in the Gait2392 and Full Body Running models. In OpenSim (version 3.1), muscle function during gait was estimated using SO and CMC in 6 subjects in each model and validated against experimental muscle activations and joint torques. Experimental and simulated activation agreement was sensitive to optimization technique for the soleus and tibialis anterior. Knee extension torque error was greater with CMC than SO. Muscle forces, activations, and co-contraction indices tended to be higher with CMC and more sensitive to model choice. CMC’s inclusion of passive muscle forces, muscle activation-contraction dynamics, and a proportional-derivative controller to track kinematics contributes to these differences. Model and optimization technique choices should be validated using experimental activations collected simultaneously with the data used to generate the simulation.
Robert J. Gregor
Daniel C. McFarland, Alexander G. Brynildsen and Katherine R. Saul
Most upper-extremity musculoskeletal models represent the glenohumeral joint with an inherently stable ball-and-socket, but the physiological joint requires active muscle coordination for stability. The authors evaluated sensitivity of common predicted outcomes (instability, net glenohumeral reaction force, and rotator cuff activations) to different implementations of active stabilizing mechanisms (constraining net joint reaction direction and incorporating normalized surface electromyography [EMG]). Both EMG and reaction force constraints successfully reduced joint instability. For flexion, incorporating any normalized surface EMG data reduced predicted instability by 54.8%, whereas incorporating any force constraint reduced predicted instability by 43.1%. Other outcomes were sensitive to EMG constraints, but not to force constraints. For flexion, incorporating normalized surface EMG data increased predicted magnitudes of joint reaction force and rotator cuff activations by 28.7% and 88.4%, respectively. Force constraints had no influence on these predicted outcomes for all tasks evaluated. More restrictive EMG constraints also tended to overconstrain the model, making it challenging to accurately track input kinematics. Therefore, force constraints may be a more robust choice when representing stability.