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Effectiveness of a Cognitive-Motor Training Program in Reducing Attentional Cost During Walking in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Carmen Gutiérrez-Cruz, F. Javier Rojas, Juan Carlos De la Cruz, and Marcos Gutiérrez-Dávila

The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of a combined training program (CTP) in reducing the effects of dual tasking on the temporal parameters and kinematics of gait, as compared with single-task gait. A controlled, randomized, intervention study was performed in an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group attended three weekly CTP sessions for 24 weeks. Gait pattern was evaluated prior to the baseline intervention, at 12 weeks, and at 24 weeks (Repost). The sample was composed of 22 subjects diagnosed with multiple sclerosis with an Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 0–5.5. A total of 12 patients were allocated to the intervention group and another 10 to the control group. A three-dimensional photogrammetry scanner was connected to a selective attention system designed to present a dual-task gait condition. Dual tasking had an impact on all spatiotemporal parameters of gait, and the most remarkable effect of dual tasking was on double-support time, which increased by 9% with respect to normal walking. In contrast, dual tasking had a trivial effect on single-support time. The CTP was effective in reducing the effects of dual tasking on stride length and velocity of the center of mass after Repost of training (p < .05). The CTP reduced time in double-support phase, whereas single-support time increased after Repost of intervention. The application of the CTP had no effect on the cost of the double task after 12 weeks of intervention. It is suggested to increase the application time over Repost.

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Time Required to Initiate a Defensive Reaction to Direct and Feint Attacks in Fencing

Marcos Gutiérrez-Davila, F. Javier Rojas, Carmen Gutiérrez-Cruz, Carlos García, and Enrique Navarro

The two-fold purpose of this study was to analyze the time required by a fencer to initiate a defensive action in response to a direct attack, which involves identifying when the defending fencer detects the just-noticeable difference, and, secondly, to assess the effect that an attacker’s rapid armed hand movement (feint attack) has on the time required to initiate a defensive move. Twenty-four elite fencers and a fencing master were included in the study. Four adapted force plates were installed on a scaffold used as a fencing piste. A 3D video analysis system recorded the location of 2 markers installed on the fencing master’s shoulder and sword. The results confirm that the defending fencer has a mean movement time of 0.353 ± 0.028 s to perform the defensive action, which provides an advantage over the attacking fencer. The velocity of movement in the peripheral visual field has no influence on the time required by elite fencers to initiate a defensive action. This confirms the crucial role that response inhibition processes play when nonrelevant actions are perceived. Kinematic analysis of markers suggests that the eye movements of elite fencers are not the only source of information used while observing an attack.

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Unrestrained Versus Vertically Restrained Loaded Countermovement Jumps: Are There Any Differences in the Components of Force Application?

Marcos Gutiérrez-Dávila, Daniel Marcos-Frutos, Carmen Gutiérrez-Cruz, and Amador García-Ramos

The objective of this study was to compare a number of variables derived from the vertical and horizontal force components between loaded countermovement jumps performed in a Smith machine (SM modality; vertically restrained jumps) and with free weights (FW modality; unrestrained jumps). Twenty-three recreationally trained individuals, 6 women and 17 men, performed on a 3D force platform 5 maximal countermovement jump trials against 3 external loads (30%, 50%, and 70% of the SM 1-repetition maximum) using the SM and FW jumping modalities on separate sessions. The SM modality promoted greater values for virtually all the variables derived from the vertical force component (maximal force, maximal and minimum velocity, and impulse) and also shorter durations of the braking and propulsive phases. Regardless of the countermovement jump phase (braking or propulsive), the impulse directed toward the backward direction was always considerably greater for the SM compared with the FW modality. These results evidence that for recreationally trained individuals, the SM modality could be more effective to increase the general force capacity of the leg muscles due to increased external stability, while the FW modality is preferable when the orientation of force application is a crucial consideration, as it reduces the horizontal force component.