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Michael Gay and Semyon Slobounov

Research into sports-related concussion (SRC) or brain injury has vastly expanded our knowledge of the connection between brain activity and behavioral outcomes. Historical examination of concussion reveals components of structural changes in the brain resulting from injury. A constellation of clinical symptoms is typically present following concussion for several days and weeks. However, the intersection of structural changes and clinical examination still remains elusive to medical professionals. With emerging technologies and modalities such as quantitative electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), virtual reality (VR), and the study of movement, we can better understand the brain–behavior relationship on clinical findings post-injury. Our advancement in SRC study using athletics provides a unique window into the advances in our ability to study this public health crisis. SRC also allows us to understand how athletics and exercise influence brain health. The evolution of SRC diagnosis, treatment, and management informs our current abilities in the study of the brain.

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Thomas A. Stoffregen

Ordinary behavior, such as walking, reading, and throwing, depends on real-time perceptual guidance. In this article, I discuss the nature of perceptual information that, in principle, might be sufficient for the guidance of movement to achieve behavioral goals. I argue that we achieve behavioral goals by controlling movements relative to multiple physical referents. Movement relative to different physical referents causes changes in the structure of different forms of ambient energy (e.g., light, sound) and, therefore, to changes in sensory stimulation. I claim that movement always is controlled simultaneously relative to multiple referents, such that no single form of ambient energy can, in principle, contain information that is sufficient for successful control. The needed perceptual information exists, I claim, solely in the global array, that is, in emergent, higher-order patterns that extend across different forms of ambient energy. I review formal and empirical examples, and discuss implications for kinesiology.

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Daniela Corbetta, Rebecca F. Wiener, Sabrina L. Thurman, and Emalie McMahon

This article reviews the literature on infant reaching, from past to present, to recount how our understanding of the emergence and development of this early goal-directed behavior has changed over the decades. We show that the still widely-accepted view, which considers the emergence and development of infant reaching as occurring primarily under the control of vision, is no longer sustainable. Increasing evidence suggests that the developmental origins of infant reaching is embodied. We discuss the implications of this alternative view for the development of eye-hand coordination and we propose a new scenario stressing the importance of the infant body-centered sensorimotor experiences in the months prior to the emergence of reaching as a possible critical step for the formation of eye-hand coordination.

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Scott W. Ducharme and Richard E.A. van Emmerik

In human locomotion, the magnitude of gait variability is a strong predictor of fall risk and frailty due to aging and disease. Beyond variability magnitude, the past two decades have provided emerging alternative methodologies for studying biological variability. Specifically, coordination variability has been found to be critically important within a healthy, adaptive system. While many activities aim to minimize end-point variability, greater coordination variability indicates a more flexible system, and is greater in experts compared to novices, or healthy compared to diseased individuals. Finally, variability structure (i.e., fractal dynamics) may describe the overall adaptive capacity of the locomotor system. We provide empirical support that fractal dynamics are associated with step length symmetry during challenging split-belt treadmill walking. Individuals whose fractal scaling approached 1/f fractal scaling during constrained walking also exhibited the best gait adaptability performance. Importantly, this relation between fractality and gait adaptability was not observed in unperturbed preferred speed walking.

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Ryota Nishiyori and Beverly D. Ulrich

Our goal for this paper is to address changes in motor patterns that occur early in life. To do this, we begin by sharing first a brief set of exemplar patterns of movement that emerge prenatally and during the first year postnatally. We couch these descriptions in the hypotheses proposed to explain what has been observed, and emphasize, as well, the context in which they appear. We follow with some experimental studies developmental scientists have used to test these explanations. Subsequently, we address the brain-behavior collaboration that unfolds and supports skill acquisition across early development. We provide data to show that recent advances in brain-imaging technology enable researchers to monitor cortical activity as infants explore and learn functional skills in real time and over developmental time. This opens a new frontier to the scientific study of the early development of neuromotor control and can enhance both our basic science knowledge and our efforts to optimize positive clinical outcomes.

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Karl M. Newell

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Howard N. Zelaznik

Over the past 18 years, Zelaznik and colleagues have promoted what is known as the event-emergent timing distinction. According to this framework, control of timing can be based upon a neurological clock-like process or upon an emergent process. I review the highlights of this research program that supports this distinction, then describe a new line of research that examines whether timing is a goal of the task or a consequence of other movement constraints. These results highlight the importance of goals in the control of timing.

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Hendrik Reimann, Tyler Fettrow, and John J. Jeka

The neural control of balance during locomotion is currently not well understood, even in the light of considerable advances in research on balance during standing. In this paper, we lay out the control problem for this task and present a list of different strategies available to the central nervous system to solve this problem. We discuss the biomechanics of the walking body, using a simplified model that iteratively gains degrees of freedom and complexity. Each addition allows for different control strategies, which we introduce in turn: foot placement shift, ankle strategy, hip strategy, and push-off modulation. The dynamics of the biomechanical system are discussed using the phase space representation, which allows illustrating the mechanical effect of the different control mechanisms. This also enables us to demonstrate the effects of common general stability strategies, such as increasing step width and cadence.

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Carolee Winstein

The last decade has witnessed an increase in the number of moderate to large-scale nonpharmacologic stroke recovery trials. While a majority, having tested the superiority of a particular evidence-based intervention, returned negative findings, the rehabilitation research community has gained an important perspective for future efforts. We offer our interpretation first, on why most of the past decade’s trials failed in the sense of not supporting the primary superiority hypothesis, and, second, we provide our perspective on how to solve this problem and thereby inform the next generation of neurorehabilitation clinical trials. The first large-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) ever conducted in neurorehabilitation was the Extremity Constraint Induced Movement Therapy Evaluation (EXCITE) trial. The majority of stroke recovery trials that followed were based on a prevailing, but as yet immature science of brain-behavior mechanisms for recovery and limited practical know-how about how to select the most meaningful outcomes. The research community had been seduced by a set of preclinical studies, ignited by the 1990’s revolution in neuroscience and an oversimplified premise that high doses of task-oriented training was the most important ingredient to foster recovery. Here, we highlight recent qualitative and quantitative evidence, both mechanistic and theory-driven, that integrates crucial social and personal factors to inform a more mature science better suited for the next generation of recovery-supportive rehabilitation clinical trials.