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Vennila Krishnan and Slobodan Jaric

Coordination of the hand grip (G; acting normally to the grasping surface) and load forces (L; acting in parallel) in bimanual static tasks was studied. L symmetry (either the magnitude or direction) and frequency were manipulated in healthy participants (N = 14). More complex tasks (i.e., the higher frequency and/or asymmetric ones) revealed expected deterioration in both the task performance (accuracy of the prescribed L force profiles) and force coordination (G/L ratio and G-L correlation) suggesting importance of L frequency and symmetry in prehension activities. However, the same tasks revealed a more prominent deterioration of interlimb than the within-limb force coordination. This could be interpreted by two partly different and noncompeting neural control mechanisms where the coordination of interlimb forces may be based on ad-hoc and task-specific muscle coordination (often referred to as muscle synergies) while the within-limb coordination of G and L could be based on more stable and partly reflex mechanisms.

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Vennila Krishnan, Paulo Barbosa de Freitas and Slobodan Jaric

We investigated hand function in mildly involved multiple sclerosis (MS) patients (N = 16; Expanded Disability Status Scale 1–5, 9-hole peg test 14–32 s) during static and dynamic manipulation tasks using an instrumented device. When compared with healthy controls (N = 16), the patients revealed impaired task performance regarding their ability to exert prescribed patterns of load force (L; force acting tangentially at the digits-object surface). Regarding the coordination of grip force (G; normal component) and L, the data only revealed an elevated G/L ratio, although both the G and L coupling (maximum correlation coefficients and the time lags between them) and the G modulation (gain and offset of G with respect to L) remained comparable in the two groups. Finally, most of the data suggested no MS-specific effects of switching from uni- to bimanual tasks, from available visual feedback to deprived feedback conditions. We conclude that the deterioration in the ability for precise control of external forces and overgripping could precede the decoupling of G and L and decreased G modulation in early phases of the disease. The results also suggest that the applied methodology could be sensitive enough to detect mild levels of impairment of hand function in MS and, possibly, other neurological diseases.

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Aisha Chen, Sandhya Selvaraj, Vennila Krishnan and Shadnaz Asgari

Accurate and reliable detection of the onset of gait initiation is essential for the correct assessment of gait. Thus, this study was aimed at evaluation of the reliability and accuracy of 3 different center of pressure–based gait onset detection algorithms: A displacement baseline–based algorithm (method 1), a velocity baseline–based algorithm (method 2), and a velocity extrema–based algorithm (method 3). The center of pressure signal was obtained during 10 gait initiation trials from 16 healthy participants and 3 participants with Parkinson’s disease. Intrasession and absolute reliability of each algorithm was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient and the coefficient of variation of center of pressure displacement during the postural phase of gait initiation. The accuracy was evaluated using the time error of the detected onset by each algorithm relative to that of visual inspection. The authors’ results revealed that although all 3 algorithms had high to very high intrasession reliabilities in both healthy subjects and subjects with Parkinson’s disease, methods 2 and 3 showed significantly better absolute reliability than method 1 in healthy controls (P = .001). Furthermore, method 2 outperformed the other 2 algorithms in both healthy subjects and subjects with Parkinson’s disease with an overall accuracy of 0.80. Based on these results, the authors recommend using method 2 for accurate and reliable gait onset detection.