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Andressa Busch Rocha Pereira and Renato Moraes

Our purpose was to verify the effects of the use of the anchors on postural control after the fatigue of the plantar flexor muscles in young and older adults. They stood barefoot, with their eyes closed in four conditions combining the use of the anchors and the fatigue. When using the anchors, participants held one cable in each hand and kept the cable taut without removing the loads (125 g) from the ground. The fatigue protocol consisted of performing a single series of bilateral plantar flexion movements. The fatigue protocol increased postural sway in both groups. Both groups reduced postural sway with the anchors, but this effect was independent of fatigue. We conclude that the anchors contributed to the reduction of postural sway in young and older adults, but they were unable to compensate for the disturbing effect in postural control created by fatigue of the plantar flexor muscles.

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Eliane Mauerberg-deCastro, Renato Moraes and Debra Frances Campbell

We tested the short-term effects of a nonrigid tool, identified as an “anchor system” (e.g., ropes attached to varying weights resting on the floor), on the postural stabilization of blindfolded adults with and without intellectual disabilities (ID). Participants held a pair of anchors–one in each hand, under three weight conditions (250 g, 500 g and 1,000 g), while they performed a restricted balance task (standing for 30 s on a balance beam placed on top of a force platform). These conditions were called anchor practice trials. Before and after the practice trials, a condition without anchors was tested. Control practice groups, who practiced blocks of trials without anchors, included individuals with and without ID. The anchor system improved subjects’ balance during the standing task, for both groups. For the control groups, the performance of successive trials in the condition without the anchor system showed no improvement in postural stability. The individuals with intellectual disability, as well as their peers without ID, used the haptic cues of nonrigid tools (i.e., the anchor system) to stabilize their posture, and the short-term stabilizing effects appeared to result from their previous use of the anchor system.

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Luiz C. Santos, Renato Moraes and Aftab E. Patla

The purpose of the current study was to understand how visual information about an ongoing change in obstacle size is used during obstacle avoidance for both lead and trail limbs. Participants were required to walk in a dark room and to step over an obstacle edged with a special tape visible in the dark. The obstacle’s dimensions were manipulated one step before obstacle clearance by increasing or decreasing its size. Two increasing and two decreasing obstacle conditions were combined with seven control static conditions. Results showed that information about the obstacle’s size was acquired and used to modulate trail limb trajectory, but had no effect on lead limb trajectory. The adaptive step was influenced by the time available to acquire and process visual information. In conclusion, visual information about obstacle size acquired during lead limb crossing was used in a feedforward manner to modulate trail limb trajectory.

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Priscila Abbári Rossi Manciopi, Natalia Madalena Rinaldi and Renato Moraes

Low back pain (LBP) can affect performance in the combined task (CT) of gait and prehension, since it increases muscle activity amplitude during voluntary movements, impairs the anticipatory postural adjustments and reduces gait speed. We analyzed and compared the effect of adding the prehension movement toward a dowel located at three different heights (80, 100 and 120% of the lower limb length) on gait of individuals with and without LBP. The CT caused anticipatory adjustments, showing that gait changes started during the approach phase and continued on the step corresponding to grasping, especially for the lowest dowel height. Furthermore, individuals with LBP reduced walking speed, increased the width of the base of support, increased electromyography activity of low back trunk muscles, and increased the margin of dynamic stability compared with control group. These results suggest that individuals with LBP used a strategy to reduce threat to body stability due to addition of the manual task.

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Eliane Mauerberg-deCastro, Carmila Souza Lucena, Bruna W. Cuba, Rosana C. Boni, Debra Frances Campbell and Renato Moraes

This study assessed the effects of haptic information on the postural control systems of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), through the use of a nonrigid tool that we call the “anchor system” (e.g., ropes attached to graduated weights that rest on the floor). Eleven participants with ID were asked to stand, blindfolded, on a balance beam placed at two heights (10 and 20 cm), for 30 s, while using the anchor system at two weights. The lighter anchor weight appeared to improve the individuals’ balance in contrast to a control task condition; therefore, we concluded that haptic sensitivity was more significant in helping to orient the body than was the anchor’s mechanical support alone.