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M.A. Urbin

Goal-directed movement is possible because the cortical regions regulating movement have continuous access to visual information. Extensive research from the various domains of motor control (i.e., neurophysiology, neuropsychology, and psychophysics) has documented the extent to which the unremitting availability of visual information enables the sensorimotor system to facilitate online control of goal-directed limb movement. However, the control mechanism guiding appreciably more complex movements characterized by ballistic, whole-body coordination is not well understood. In the overarm throw, for example, joint rotations must be optimally timed between body segments to exploit the passive flow of kinetic energy and, in turn, maximize projectile speed while maintaining accuracy. The purpose of this review is to draw from the various research domains in motor control and speculate on the nature of the sensorimotor control mechanism facilitating overarm throwing performance.

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Ina M. Tarkka, Pekka Hautasaari, Heidi Pesonen, Eini Niskanen, Mirva Rottensteiner, Jaakko Kaprio, Andrej M. Savić and Urho M. Kujala

adult owl monkeys after behaviorally controlled tactile stimulation . Journal of Neurophysiology . 1990 ; 63 ( 1 ): 82 . http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/63/1/82 2299388 10.1152/jn.1990.63.1.82 27. Erickson KI , Leckie RL , Weinstein AM . Physical activity, fitness, and gray

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Scott C. Livingston

Edited by Monique Mokha

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Andrew Hooyman, Alexander Garbin and Beth Fisher

research . Clinical Neurophysiology, 120 ( 12 ), 2008 – 2039 . PubMed ID: 19833552 doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2009.08.016 10.1016/j.clinph.2009.08.016 Rossini , P.M. , Burke , D. , Chen , R. , Cohen , L.G. , Daskalakis , Z. , Di Iorio , R. , . . . Ziemann , U. ( 2015 ). Non-invasive electrical

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Matt S. Stock and Brennan J. Thompson

We examined the means, medians, and variability for motor-unit interpulse intervals (IPIs) during voluntary, high force contractions. Eight men (mean age = 22 years) attempted to perform isometric contractions at 90% of their maximal voluntary contraction force while bipolar surface electromyographic (EMG) signals were detected from the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis muscles. Surface EMG signal decomposition was used to determine the recruitment thresholds and IPIs of motor units that demonstrated accuracy levels ≥ 96.0%. Motor units with high recruitment thresholds demonstrated longer mean IPIs, but the coefficients of variation were similar across all recruitment thresholds. Polynomial regression analyses indicated that for both muscles, the relationship between the means and standard deviations of the IPIs was linear. The majority of IPI histograms were positively skewed. Although low-threshold motor units were associated with shorter IPIs, the variability among motor units with differing recruitment thresholds was comparable.

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Jeff A. Nessler, Tomas Gonzales, Eric Rhoden, Matthew Steinbrick and Charles J. De Leone

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of interpersonal synchronization of stepping on stride interval dynamics during over-ground walking. Twenty-seven footswitch instrumented subjects walked under three conditions: independent (SOLO), alongside a partner (PAIRED), and side by side with intentional synchronization (FORCED). A subset of subjects also synchronized stepping to a metronome (MET). Stride time power spectral density and detrended fluctuation analysis revealed that the rate of autocorrelation decay in stride time was similar for both the SOLO and PAIRED conditions, but was significantly reduced during the FORCED and MET conditions (p=0.03 & 0.002). Stride time variability was also significantly increased for the FORCED and MET conditions (p<0.001). These data suggest that forced synchronization of stepping results in altered stride interval dynamics, likely through increased active control by the CNS. Passive side by side stepping, where synchronization is subconscious, does not appreciably alter stepping in this manner.

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Kym J. Williams, Dale W. Chapman, Elissa J. Phillips and Nick Ball

Purpose: To establish the influence of athlete-dependent characteristics on the generation and timing of system and individual joint powers during a countermovement jump (CMJ). Methods: Male national representative athletes from volleyball (n = 7), basketball (n = 6), and rugby (n = 7) performed a set of 3 CMJs at relative barbell loads of 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40% of absolute back-squat strength. Ground-reaction forces and joint kinematics were captured using a 16-camera motion-capture system integrated with 2 in-ground force plates. Limb lengths and cross-sectional areas were defined using 3-dimensional photonic scans. A repeated-measures analysis of variance determined the interaction between system and joint load–power profiles, whereas a multiregression analysis defined the explained variance of athlete-dependent characteristics on the load that maximized system power. Results: System and isolated hip, knee, and ankle peak powers were maximized across a spectrum of loads between and within sports; power values were not significantly different across loads. A positive shift in the timing of hip and ankle peak powers corresponded to a significant (P < .05) positive shift in the timing of system peak power to occur closer to toe-off. An optimal 3-input combination of athlete-dependent characteristics accounted for 68% (P < .001) of the explained variance in the load that maximized system peak power. Conclusion: The load maximizing system power is athlete-dependent, with a mixture of training and heredity-related characteristics influencing CMJ load–power profiles. The authors recommend that a combination of relative loads be individually prescribed to maximize the generation and translation of system CMJ power.

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Carly C. Sacco, Erin M. Gaffney and Jesse C. Dean

Applying white noise vibration to the ankle tendons has previously been used to improve passive movement detection and alter postural control, likely by enhancing proprioceptive feedback. The aim of the present study was to determine if similar methods focused on the ankle plantarflexors affect the performance of both quiet standing and an active postural positioning task, in which participants may be more reliant on proprioceptive feedback from actively contracting muscles. Twenty young, healthy participants performed quiet standing trials and active postural positioning trials designed to encourage reliance on plantarflexor proprioception. Performance under normal conditions with no vibration was compared to performance with 8 levels of vibration amplitude applied to the bilateral Achilles tendons. Vibration amplitude was set either as a percentage of sensory threshold (n = 10) or by root-mean-square (RMS) amplitude (n = 10). No vibration amplitude had a significant effect on quiet standing. In contrast, accuracy of the active postural positioning task was significantly (P = .001) improved by vibration with an RMS amplitude of 30 μm. Setting vibration amplitude based on sensory threshold did not significantly affect postural positioning accuracy. The present results demonstrate that appropriate amplitude tendon vibration may hold promise for enhancing the use of proprioceptive feedback during functional active movement.