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Alberto Ranavolo, Romildo Don, Angelo Cacchio, Mariano Serrao, Marco Paoloni, Massimiliano Mangone and Valter Santilli

Kinematic and kinetic methods (sacral marker, reconstructed pelvis, segmental analysis, and force platform methods) have been used to calculate the vertical excursion of the center of mass (COM) during movement. In this study we compared the measurement of vertical COM displacement yielded by different methods during able-bodied subjects’ hopping at different frequencies (varying between 1.2 and 3.2 Hz). ANOVA revealed a significant interaction between hopping frequency and method (p < 0.001), showing that increasing hopping frequency reduced the differences between methods. A post hoc analysis revealed a significant difference between all methods at the lowest hopping frequency and between the force platform and both the sacral marker and reconstructed pelvis methods at the intermediate hopping frequencies, with differences ranging from 16 to 67 millimeters (all p < 0.05). Results are discussed in view of each methods’ limits. We conclude that the segmental analysis and force platform methods can be considered to provide the most accurate results for COM vertical excursion during human hopping in a large range of hopping frequency.

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Seung Pil Lee, T. Bettina Cornwell and Kathy Babiak

The objective of this study is to develop an instrument to measure the social impact of sport. While there is a rich literature suggesting and measuring the ways in which sport contributes to society, no broad, encompassing scale has been developed. A measure of this type is useful if sport initiatives are to gain social, political and financial support, especially in the form of corporate sponsorship. The proposed “Social Impact of Sport Scale” includes the dimensions of social capital, collective identities, health literacy, well-being and human capital. In addition to development of a detailed 75 item composite scale stemming largely from past measurement, a shorter set of global measures is also examined. A convenience sample of university students is used in scale development as well as a partial test of the scale in context. Results find support for the detailed scale and for the short global measure instrument. In addition, the partial test of the scale in a context of sport experience relevant to students is reported. The value of the scale in use and areas of future research are discussed.

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Todd L. Allinger and Robert W. Motl

This study used a vertical jump model to simulate the push-off phase for a skater using klap speed skates and evaluated die effects of pivot location and shoe base flexion on energy production. Boards of different lengths and one board with a hinge under the metatarsal heads were attached to the running shoes of volunteers. Six skaters performed 3 maximal effort vertical jumps across 5 different base conditions: running shoe, board that hinged under metatarsal heads, and rigid boards that pivoted with the ground al -25 mm (typical pivot location for klapskales), 0 mm, and +25 mm from the toes. There were no significant differences in total energy at take-off among the 3 rigid base conditions, but there were differences in potential and kinetic energy production. The total and kinetic energy produced at take-off was 9% greater in the hinged base condition than the corresponding rigid base condition. If differences in energy measures from the vertical jump reflect those for skating, a hinged boot base could increase skating speeds by about 3% over the current klap-skales, which have a rigid boot base.

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Simon R. Goodman, Mark L. Latash, Sheng Li and Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

This study involved an optimization, numerical analysis of a network for two-hand multi-finger force production, analogous in its structure to the double-representation mirror image (DoReMi) network suggested earlier based on neurophysiological data on cortical finger representations. The network accounts for phenomena of enslaving (unintended finger force production), force deficit (smaller force produced by a finger in multi-finger tasks as compared to its single-finger task), and bilateral deficit (smaller forces produced in two-hand tasks as compared to one-hand tasks). Matrices of connection weights were computed, and the results of optimization were compared to the experimental data on finger forces during one- and two-hand maximal force production (MVC) tasks. The network was able to reproduce the experimental data in two-hand experiments with high accuracy (average error was 1.2 N); it was also able to reproduce findings in one-hand multi-finger MVC tasks, which were not used during the optimization procedure, although with a somewhat higher error (2.8 N). Our analysis supports the feasibility of the DoReMi network. It suggests that within-a-hand force deficit and bilateral force deficit are phenomena of different origins whose effects add up. Is also supports a hypothesis that force deficit and enslaving have different neural origins.

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Jinsung Wang and George E. Stelmach

Smeets and Brenner propose a model that attempts to account for the action patterns involved in prehensile behaviors. However, the model does not provide a full account of the available data on temporal and spatial relationships between the transport and grasp components. Predictions from the model in its current form appear to correspond only to experimental results in a very general way.

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Slobodan Jaric, Charli Tortoza, Ismael F.C. Fatarelli and Gil L. Almeida

A number of studies have analyzed various indices of the final position variability in order to provide insight into different levels of neuromotor processing during reaching movements. Yet the possible effects of movement kinematics on variability have often been neglected. The present study was designed to test the effects of movement direction and curvature on the pattern of movement variable errors. Subjects performed series of reaching movements over the same distance and into the same target. However, due either to changes in starting position or to applied obstacles, the movements were performed in different directions or along the trajectories of different curvatures. The pattern of movement variable errors was assessed by means of the principal component analysis applied on the 2-D scatter of movement final positions. The orientation of these ellipses demonstrated changes associated with changes in both movement direction and curvature. However, neither movement direction nor movement curvature affected movement variable errors assessed by area of the ellipses. Therefore it was concluded that the end-point variability depends partly, but not exclusively, on movement kinematics.

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Marcin Baranowski, Jan Górski, Barbara Klapcinska, Zbigniew Waskiewicz and Ewa Sadowska-Krepa

We have previously shown that acute exercise increases the level of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in plasma and ceramide in erythrocytes of untrained subjects. The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of ultramarathon run on the plasma and erythrocyte levels of the following bioactive sphingolipids: S1P, sphinganine-1-phosphate (SA1P), sphingosine, sphinganine, and ceramide. Blood samples were collected from seven male amateur runners participating in a 48-hr ultramarathon race before the run, after 24 and 48 hr of running, and following 24 and 48 hr of recovery. The sphingolipids were quantified by means of HPLC. Sustained running for 48 hr resulted in a progressive decline in plasma S1P to a level significantly lower than at prerace, and then remained stable over the next 48 hr of recovery. In erythrocytes, S1P content was stable until 24 hr of recovery, then rose abruptly to reach peak values after 48 hr of recovery. The plasma level of SA1P decreased progressively during the competition and remained unchanged over the recovery. In erythrocytes, the level of SA1P increased after 24 hr running and normalized thereafter. The level of ceramide, both in plasma and erythrocytes, was not significantly affected by the ultraendurance run. We speculate that reduction in plasma level of S1P during and after the run reduces its biological actions and might be responsible for some negative side-effects of the ultraendurance effort.

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Veena Iyengar, Marcio J. Santos and Alexander S. Aruin

We investigated whether slower velocity of arm movement affects grip-force generation in conditions with the finger touch provided to the wrist of the target arm. Nine subjects performed the task of lifting and transporting an object at slow, intermediate, and fast velocities with a light finger touch from the contralateral arm and without it. There was an effect of velocity of arm movement on grip-force generation in both conditions. However, when the no touch and touch trials performed with similar velocity were matched, the effect of touch on grip-force reduction was statistically significant (p < .001). The observed decrease in grip force could not be explained by slower movement execution in the touch conditions and underlines the importance of using a contralateral touch in the performance of activities of daily living. It also points to a possibility of the development of therapeutic advances for the enhancement of grip-force control in patients with neurological impairments.

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Anthony J. Lisi, Conor W. O’Neill, Derek P. Lindsey, Robert Cooperstein, Elaine Cooperstein and James F. Zucherman

This paper presents the first reported measurements of lumbar intervertebral disc pressure in vivo during spinal manipulation. A pressure transducer was inserted into the nucleus pulposus of one normal-appearing lumbar disc in an asymptomatic adult volunteer. Pressures were recorded during several body positions and maneuvers, then during spinal manipulation, and lastly during a repetition of the preintervention body positions. Baseline pressures in the prone and side-lying positions measured 110 kPa and 150 kPa, respectively. During the manipulation, pressure rose to a peak of 890 kPa over 250 ms. Immediately following, pressures in the prone and side-lying positions measured 150 kPa and 165 kPa, respectively. These data do not support the hypotheses that manipulation can reduce a herniation by decreasing intradiscal pressure, or cause a herniation by raising pressure to failure levels. Further work may lead to a better understanding of this treatment method.

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Halla B. Olafsdottir, Sun Wook Kim, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and Mark L. Latash

We tested the ability of healthy elderly persons to use anticipatory synergy adjustments (ASAs) prior to a self-triggered perturbation of one of the fingers during a multifinger force production task. An index of a force-stabilizing synergy was computed reflecting covariation of commands to fingers. The subjects produced constant force by pressing with the four fingers of the dominant hand on force sensors against constant upwardly directed forces. The middle finger could be unloaded either by the subject pressing the trigger or unexpectedly by the experimenter. In the former condition, the synergy index showed a drop (interpreted as ASA) prior to the time of unloading. This drop started later and was smaller in magnitude as compared with ASAs reported in an earlier study of younger subjects. At the new steady state, a new sharing pattern of the force was reached. We conclude that aging is associated with a preserved ability to explore the flexibility of the mechanically redundant multifinger system but a decreased ability to use feed-forward adjustments to self-triggered perturbations. These changes may contribute to the documented drop in manual dexterity with age.