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Jeanick Brisswalter and Christophe Hausswirth

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John J. Jeka, Pedro Ribeiro, Kelvin Oie and James R. Lackner

The goal of the present study was to determine the properties of the somatosensory stimulus that alter its temporal coupling to body sway. Six standing subjects were tested while touching a metal plate positioned either directly in front of or lateral to the subject. In each condition, the plate moved 4 mm at 0.2 Hz in either the medial-lateral (ML) or anterior-posterior direction (AP). The results showed that coupling between body sway and touch plate movement was strongest when the touch plate moved in a direction along the longitudinal axis of the arm. Coupling strength was weaker when the touch plate moved perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the arm. The results consistently show that a radial expansion stimulus was more effective than a lamellar-type stimulus at the fingertip. Moreover, somatosensory information from a surface is interpreted in terms of the orientation of the contact limb and the potential degrees of freedom available through its movement.

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Karla A. Henderson and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Physical activity involvement often changes as an individual gets older. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore the involvement in and meanings of physical activity from childhood to the present among a selected group of Native American women. The results showed that perceived meanings of physical activity remained relatively stable over the lives of these women. Two patterns of involvement emerged among the women: decliners and rejuvenators. The results suggested that physical activity as women aged was a result not of choice as often as of a life situation. Furthermore, the changes occurring in physical activity over the life course reflected social and cultural influences, as well as individual self-determination. The findings indicated that a variety of perspectives are needed if researchers are to understand the changes that occur in physical activity patterns and how both women and men of all ethnic groups might remain involved in physical activity throughout their lives.

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David Levine, Erin Prall, June Hanks, Michael Whittle and Denis Marcellin-Little

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Joanne L. Parsons

Edited by R. Barry Dale

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Zong-Ming Li, Shouchen Dun, Daniel A. Harkness and Teresa L. Brininger

The purpose of the current study was to examine motion enslaving characteristics of multiple fingers during isolated flexion of the distal interphalangeal joints. Because the distal interphalangeal joints are flexed by multiple tendons of the single flexor digitorum profundus, the current experimental design provided a unique advantage to understand inter-finger enslaving effects due to the flexor digitorum profundus. Eight subjects were instructed to flex the distal inter-phalangeal joint of each individual finger from the fully extended position to the fully flexed position as quickly as possible. Maximal angular displacements, velocities, or accelerations of individual fingers were used to calculate the enslaving effects. An independence index, defined as the ratio of the maximal displacement of a master finger to the sum of the maximal displacements of the master and slave fingers, was used to quantify relative independence of each finger. The angular displacements of the index, middle, ring, and little fingers were 68.6° (±7.7), 68.1° (±10.1), 68.1° (±9.7), and 74.7° (±13.3), respectively. The motion of a master finger was invariably accompanied by motion of 1 or 2 slave fingers. Angular displacements of master and slave fingers increased to maximum values with time monotonically. Velocity curves demonstrated bell-shaped profile, and the acceleration curves were sinusoidal. Enslaving effects were generated mainly on the neighboring fingers. The amount of enslaving on the middle and ring fingers exceeded more than 60% of their own maximum angular displacements when a single adjacent finger moved. The index finger had the highest level of independence as indicated by the lowest enslaving effects on other fingers or by other fingers. The independence indices of the index, middle, ring, and little fingers were 0.812 (±0.070), 0.530 (±0.051), 0.479 (±0.099), and 0.606 (±0.148), respectively. In all tasks, motion of slave fingers always lagged with respect to the master finger. Time delays, on average, ranged from 7.8 (±5.0) to 35.9 (±22.1) ms. Our results suggest that there exist relatively large enslaving effects among the compartments of the flexor digitorum profundus, and functional independence of fingers in daily activities is likely enhanced through synergistic activities of multiple muscles, including flexors and extensors.

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Benjamin W. Infantolino and John H. Challis

The pennated arrangement of muscle fibers has important implications for muscle function in vivo, but complex arrangement of muscle fascicles in whole muscle raises the question whether the arrangement of fascicles produce variations in pennation angle throughout muscle. The purpose of this study was to describe the variability in pennation angle observed throughout the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Two cadaveric muscles were scanned in a 14.1 tesla MRI unit. Muscles were divided into slices and pennation angle was measured in the same representative location throughout the muscle in each slice for the medial-lateral and anterior posterior-image planes. Data showed large nonuniform variation in pennation angles throughout the muscles. For example, for cadaver 2, pennation angle in 287 planes along the medial-lateral axis ranged from 3.2° to 22.6°, while for the anterior-posterior axis, in 237 planes it ranged from 3.1° to 24.5°. The nonnormal distribution of pennation angles along each axis suggests a more complex distribution of fascicles than is assumed when a single pennation angle is used to represent an entire muscle. This distribution indicates that a single pennation angle may not accurately describe the arrangement of muscle fascicles in whole muscle.

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Jae Kun Shim, Jeffrey Hsu, Sohit Karol and Ben F. Hurley

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of finger strength training (ST) on finger strength, independence, force control, and adaptations in multifinger coordination. Thirty-three healthy, young (23.0 ± 2.9 years) subjects were randomly assigned into 4 groups. Group 1 (G1) trained all fingers together, Group 2 (G2) trained individual fingers without restricting movements of the non-training fingers, and Group 3 (G3) trained individual fingers while restricting the movement of the nontraining fingers. The control group (G0) did not undergo any training. A vertically hanging load was attached to a spring that passed through a pulley. The other end of the string extended to the horizontal plane and had thimbles attached to it. Subjects were asked to rest their forearm on the table and lift the load by inserting their fingers into the thimbles. The training protocol lasted 6 weeks. Identical experimental tests were conducted 4 times, biweekly, across the 6-week training. Force coordination and moment coordination, defined as synergies stabilizing the resultant force and the resultant moment of all finger forces, in a multifinger pressing task were quantified using the Uncontrolled Manifold (UCM) analysis. The UCM analysis allocates motor variability into two components, one in the null space of a motor task and the other perpendicular to the null space. During multifinger pressing tasks, multifinger coordination exists when the variability in the null space is greater than the variability in the subspace perpendicular to the null space. The multifinger coordination was quantified as the difference between the variance within the null space and that perpendicular to the null space, normalized by the total variance. Thus, the coordination measure in our analysis is a unitless variable. A greater coordination measure indicates better multifinger coordination. Moment-stabilizing multifinger coordination increased only in G1 (from 1.197 ± 0.004 to 1.323 ± 0.002, p < .01), and force-stabilizing coordination increased only in G3 (from 0.207 ± 0.106 to 0.727 ± 0.071, p < .01). Finger strength, measured by the maximal voluntary finger force of pressing 4 fingers, increased significantly in all training groups (from 103.7 ± 3.1 N to 144.0 ± 3.6 N for training groups, all p < .001). Finger-force errors, quantified by the deviations between the required force profiles (20% maximal voluntary force) presented to the subjects and the actual force produced, decreased significantly with ST for all the training groups (all p < .05). Finger independence also decreased significantly for all the training groups (p < .05). We conclude that the neuromuscular system adaptations to multifinger ST are specific to the training protocol being employed, yielding improvements in different types of multifinger coordination (i.e., coordination-specific ST), finger-force control, and finger strength and a decrease in finger independence. Finger independence, depending on the nature of the task, might or might not be favorable to certain task performances. We suggest that ST protocol should be carefully designed for the improvement of specific coordination of multieffector motor systems.

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Melissa R. Lachowitzer, Anne Ranes and Gary T. Yamaguchi

In order to create a flexible model of the foot for dynamic musculoskeletal models, anthropometric data combined with geometric information describing the intrinsic musculature are needed. In this study, the left feet of two male and two female cadavers were dissected to expose the intrinsic musculotendon pathways. Three-dimensional coordinates of bony landmarks, tendon origins, insertions, and via points were digitized to submillimeter accuracy. Muscle architectural parameters were also measured, including volume, weight, and pennation angle and sarcomere, fascicle, and free tendon lengths. Optimal muscle fascicle lengths, pennation angles at optimal length, physiological cross-sectional areas (PCSA), and tendon slack lengths were calculated from the directly measured values. Fascicle length and pennation angle varied greatly within each subject. Average fascicle lengths normalized by optimal fascicle length varied between 0.73 and 1.25, with 75% of the formalin-preserved muscles being found in a shortened state. The muscle volume and PCSA also had a large variability within subjects but less variation between subjects. The ratio of tendon slack length to optimal fascicle length was found to vary between 1.05 and 9.56. Using this data, a deformable model of the foot can now be created. It is envisioned that deformable feet will significantly improve

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Douglas Potter and Denis Keeling

The effects of exercise and circadian rhythms on memory function were explored in a group of shift workers (mean age 32 yrs). A variant of the Auditory-Verbal Learning Test was used to test memory for word lists at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30, 3:30, and 6:30 p.m. in a repeated-measures design. Without exercise there was clear evidence of a circadian rhythm in memory performance, with peak performance occurring at 12:30 and poorest performance at 3:30. A brisk 10-min walk followed by a 15- to 30-min recovery period resulted in significant improvement in memory recall at all time periods except 12:30. The results of the AVLT task suggest an improvement in both working memory and long-term memory performance. Rhythmic changes in serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine levels all affect cortical arousal and cognitive function. Exercise may have resulted in altered levels of these neurotransmitters, increased glucose, oxygen, or nutrient levels, or from temporary changes in growth hormone or brain-derived neurotropic factor levels resulting in increased synaptogenesis and neurogenesis. The physiological basis of this temporary improvement in memory remains to be determined, but this simple behavioral intervention may have widespread application in improving memory function in all sections of the population including children and the elderly.