This study examined the role of feedback from cutaneous mechanoreceptors in the stability of human upright posture. A two-link, one degree of freedom, inverted pendulum model was constructed for the human body with ankle joint torque proportional to the delayed outputs from muscle receptors, joint receptors, and cutaneous mechanoreceptors in the foot. Theoretical analysis and numerical simulations indicated that the use of mechanoreceptive information reduced the frequency range and the maximum peak-peak value of the dynamic response of the system. However, without the use of muscle receptors, the mechanoreceptive feedback could not stabilize the system. In addition, body movement of human subjects was measured when their balanced upright posture was disturbed by a transient, forward/backward movement of a supporting platform. The loss of or change in cutaneous mechanoreceptive sense in their feet was induced by (a) having healthy subjects stand on a soft surface and (b) testing neuropathic patients with loss of vibratory sensation in their feet. The results showed significant increases in frequency range and maximum peak-peak value of ankle rotation and velocity for subjects standing on a soft (vs. hard) surface and for neuropathic patients (vs. age- and gender-matched healthy subjects).
Joseph F. Seay, Jeffery M. Haddad, Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Joseph Hamill
Increases in movement variability have previously been observed to be a hallmark property of cooraination changes between coupled oscillators that occur as movement frequency is scaled. Prior research on the walk-run transition in human locomotion has also demonstrated increases in variability around the transition region, supporting predictions of nonequilibrium phase transitions (Diedrich & Warren, 1995). The current study examined the coordinative patterns of both intra- and inter-limb couplings around the walk-run transition using two different temporal manipulations of locomotor velocity as a control parameter in healthy young participants (N = 11). Coordination variability did not increase before the transition. The nature of the change in continuous relative phase variability between gait modes was coupling-specific, and varying the time spent at each velocity did not have an overall effect on gait transition dynamics. Lower extremity inter-limb coordination dynamics were more sensitive to changes in treadmill velocity than intra-limb coordination. The results demonstrate the complexity of segmental coordination change in human locomotion, and question the applicability of dynamical bimanual coordination models to human gait transitions.
William R. Leonard
This paper examines the evolutionary origins of human dietary and activity patterns, and their implications for understanding modern health problems. Humans have evolved distinctive nutritional characteristics associated the high metabolic costs of our large brains. The evolution of larger hominid brain size necessitated the adoption of foraging strategies that both provided high quality foods, and required larger ranges and activity budgets. Over time, human subsistence strategies have become ever more efficient in obtaining energy with minimal time and effort. Today, populations of the industrialized world live in environments characterized by low levels of energy expenditure and abundant food supplies contributing to growing rates of obesity. Analyses of trends in dietary intake and body weight in the US over the last 50 years indicate that the dramatic rise in obesity cannot be explained solely by increased energy consumption. Rather, declines in activity are also important. Further, we find that recent recommendations on physical activity have the potential to bring daily energy expenditure levels of industrialized societies surprisingly close to those observed among subsistence-level populations. These findings highlight the importance of physical activity in promoting nutritional health and show the utility of evolutionary approaches for developing public health recommendations.
Jaclyn B. Caccese and Thomas W. Kaminski
The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) is the current standard for assessing postural stability in concussed athletes on the sideline. However, research has questioned the objectivity and validity of the BESS, suggesting that while certain subcategories of the BESS have sufficient reliability to be used in evaluation of postural stability, the total score is not reliable, demonstrating limited interrater and intrarater reliability. Recently, a computerized BESS test was developed to automate scoring.
To compare computerderived BESS scores with those taken from 3 trained human scorers.
Interrater reliability study.
Athletic training room.
NCAA Division I student athletes (53 male, 58 female; 19 ± 2 y, 168 ± 41 cm, 69 ± 4 kg).
Subjects were asked to perform the BESS while standing on the Tekscan (Boston, MA) MobileMat® BESS. The MobileMat BESS software displayed an error score at the end of each trial. Simultaneously, errors were recorded by 3 separate examiners. Errors were counted using the standard BESS scoring criteria.
Main Outcome Measures:
The number of BESS errors was computed for the 6 stances from the software and each of the 3 human scorers. Interclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used to compare errors for each stance scored by the MobileMat BESS software with each of 3 raters individually. The ICC values were converted to Fisher Z scores, averaged, and converted back into ICC values.
The double-leg, single-leg, and tandem-firm stances resulted in good agreement with human scorers (ICC = .999, .731, and .648). All foam stances resulted in fair agreement.
Our results suggest that the MobileMat BESS is suitable for identifying BESS errors involving each of the 6 stances of the BESS protocol. Because the MobileMat BESS scores consistently and reliably, this system can be used with confidence by clinicians as an effective alternative to scoring the BESS.
Jeffrey J. Brault, Theodore F. Towse, Jill M. Slade and Ronald A. Meyer
Short-term creatine supplementation is reported to result in a decreased ratio of phosphocreatine (PCr) to total creatine (TCr) in human skeletal muscle at rest. Assuming equilibrium of the creatine kinase reaction, this decrease in PCr:TCr implies increased cytoplasmic ADP and decreased Gibbs free energy of ATP hydrolysis in muscle, which seems contrary to the reported ergogenic benefits of creatine supplementation. This study measured changes in PCr and TCr in vastus lateralis muscle of adult men (N = 6, 21–35 y old) during and 1 day after 5 d of creatine monohydrate supplementation (0.43 g·kg body weight−1·d−1) using noninvasive 31P and 1H magnetic-resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Plasma and red-blood-cell creatine increased by 10-fold and 2-fold, respectively, by the third day of supplementation. MRS-measured skeletal muscle PCr and TCr increased linearly and in parallel throughout the 5 d, and there was no significant difference in the percentage increase in muscle PCr (11.7% ± 2.3% after 5 d) vs. TCr (14.9% ± 4.1%) at any time point. The results indicate that creatine supplementation does not alter the PCr:TCr ratio, and hence the cytoplasmic Gibbs free energy of ATP hydrolysis, in human skeletal muscle at rest.
Andrea N. Lay, Chris J. Hass, D. Webb Smith and Robert J. Gregor
Sloped walking surfaces provide a unique environment for examining the bio-mechanics and neural control of locomotion. While sloped surfaces have been used in a variety of studies in recent years, the current literature provides little if any discussion of the integrity, i.e., validity, of the systems used to collect data. The goal of this study was to develop and characterize a testing system capable of evaluating the kinetics of human locomotion on sloped surfaces. A ramped walkway system with an embedded force plate was constructed and stabilized. Center of pressure and reaction force data from the force plate were evaluated at 6 ramp grades (0, 5, 15, 25, 35, and 39%). Ground reaction force data at 0% grade were effectively the same as data from the same force plate when mounted in the ground and were well within the range of intrasubject variability. Collectively, data from all tests demonstrate the fidelity of this ramp system and suggest it can be used to evaluate human locomotion over a range of slope intensities.
Scott O. Cloyd, Mont Hubbard and LeRoy W. Alaways
Feedback control of a human-powered single-track bicycle is investigated through the use of a linearized dynamical model in order to develop feedback gains that can be implemented by a human pilot in an actual vehicle. The object of the control scheme is to satisfy two goals: balance and tracking. The pilot should be able not only to keep the vehicle upright but also to direct the forward motion as desired. The two control inputs, steering angle and rider lean angle, are assumed to be determined by the rider as a product of feedback gains and “measured” values of the state variables: vehicle lean, lateral deviation from the desired trajectory, and their derivatives. Feedback gains are determined through linear quadratic regulator theory. This results in two control schemes, a “full” optimal feedback control and a less complicated technique that is more likely to be usable by an inexperienced pilot. Theoretical optimally controlled trajectories are compared with experimental trajectories in a lane change maneuver.
Saunders N. Whittlesey, Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Joseph Hamill
Many studies have assumed that the swing phase of human walking at preferred velocity is largely passive and thus highly analogous to the swing of an unforced pendulum. In other words, while swing-phase joint moments are generally nonzero during swing, it was assumed that they were either zero or at least negligibly small compared to gravity. While neglect of joint moments does not invalidate a study by default, it remains that the limitations of such an assumption have not been explored thoroughly. This paper makes five arguments that the swing phase cannot be passive, using both original data and the literature: (1) Computer simulations of the swing phase require muscular control to be accurate. (2) Swing-phase joint moments, while smaller than those during stance, are still greater than those due to gravity. (3) Gravity accounts for a minority of the total kinetics of a swing phase. (4) The kinetics due to gravity do not have the pattern needed to develop a normal swing phase. (5) There is no correlation between pendular swing times and human walking periods in overground walking. The conclusion of this paper is that the swing phase must be an actively controlled process, and should be assumed to be passive only when a study does not require a quantitative result. This conclusion has significant implications for many areas of gait research, including clinical study, control theory, and mechanical modeling.
Alan Hreljac, Rodney T. Imamura, Rafael F. Escamilla, W. Brent Edwards and Toran MacLeod
The primary purpose of this project was to examine whether lower extremity joint kinetic factors are related to the walk–run gait transition during human locomotion. Following determination of the preferred transition speed (PTS), each of the 16 subjects walked down a 25-m runway, and over a floor-mounted force platform at five speeds (70, 80, 90, 100, and 110% of the PTS), and ran over the force platform at three speeds (80, 100, and 120% of the PTS) while being videotaped (240 Hz) from the right sagittal plane. Two-dimensional kinematic data were synchronized with ground reaction force data (960 Hz). After smoothing, ankle and knee joint moments and powers were calculated using standard inverse dynamics calculations. The maximum dorsiflexor moment was the only variable tested that increased as walking speed increased and then decreased when gait changed to a run at the PTS, meeting the criteria set to indicate that this variable influences the walk–run gait transition during human locomotion. This supports previous research suggesting that an important factor in changing gaits at the PTS is the prevention of undue stress in the dorsiflexor muscles.
Andrew R. Kemper, Joel D. Stitzel, Craig McNally, H. Clay Gabler and Stefan M. Duma
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of loading direction on the structural response of the human clavicle subjected to three-point bending. A total of 20 clavicles were obtained from 10 unembalmed fresh-frozen postmortem human subjects ranging from 45 to 92 years of age. The right and left clavicles from each subject were randomly divided into two test groups. One group was impacted at 0° from the transverse plane, and the second group was impacted at 45° angle from the transverse plane. There was no statistically significant difference in peak force (p = .22), peak moment (p = .30), or peak displacement (p = .44) between specimens impacted at 0° versus 45° from the transverse plane. However, there was a significant difference in the structural stiffness (p = .01) and peak strain (p < .01) between specimens impacted at 0° versus 45° from the transverse plane. The peak strain, however, must be evaluated with caution because of the variation in fracture location relative to the strain gauge. Due to the controlled matched data set, the differences in the structural stiffness with respect to loading direction can be attributed to the complex geometry of the clavicle and not material differences.