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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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Joanne E. Folker, Bruce E. Murdoch, Louise M. Cahill, Kristin M. Rosen, Martin B. Delatycki, Louise A. Corben and Adam P. Vogel

Electromagnetic articulography (EMA) was used to investigate the tongue kinematics in the dysarthria associated with Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA). The subject group consisted of four individuals diagnosed with FRDA. Five nonneurologically impaired individuals, matched for age and gender, served as controls. Each participant was assessed using the AG-200 EMA system during six repetitions of the tongue tip sentence Tess told Dan to stay fit and the tongue back sentence Karl got a croaking frog. Results revealed reduced speed measures (i.e., maximum acceleration / deceleration / velocity), greater movement durations and increased articulatory distances for the approach phases of consonant productions. The approach phase, involving movement up to the palate, was more affected than the release phase. It is suggested that deviant lingual kinematics could be the outcome of disturbances to cerebellar function, or possibly in combination with disturbances to upper motor neuron systems.

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Y.L. Lo, H.H. Zhang, C.C. Wang, Z.Y. Chin, S. Fook-Chong, C. Gabriel and C.T. Guan

In overt reading and singing tasks, actual vocalization of words in a rhythmic fashion is performed. During execution of these tasks, the role of underlying vascular processes in relation to cortical excitability changes in a spatial manner is uncertain. Our objective was to investigate cortical excitability changes during reading and singing with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as well as vascular changes with nearinfrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Findings with TMS and NIRS were correlated. TMS and NIRS recordings were performed in 5 normal subjects while they performed reading and singing tasks separately. TMS was applied over the left motor cortex at 9 positions 2.5 cm apart. NIRS recordings were made over these identical positions. Although both TMS and NIRS showed significant mean cortical excitability and hemodynamic changes from baseline during vocalization tasks, there was no significant spatial correlation of these changes evaluated with the 2 techniques over the left motor cortex. Our findings suggest that increased left-sided cortical excitability from overt vocalization tasks in the corresponding “hand area” were the result of “functional connectivity,” rather than an underlying “vascular overflow mechanism” from the adjacent speech processing or face/mouth areas. Our findings also imply that functional neurophysiological and vascular methods may evaluate separate underlying processes, although subjects performed identical vocalization tasks. Future research combining similar methodologies should embrace this aspect and harness their separate capabilities.

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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.