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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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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.

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Jim Potvin