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Taylor K. Dinyer, Pasquale J. Succi, M. Travis Byrd, Caleb C. Voskuil, Evangeline P. Soucie and Haley C. Bergstrom

contraction. To further this concept, Boonstra et al. ( 2007 , 2008 ) demonstrated bilateral coupling during intermittent isometric muscle actions of the forearm flexors and extensors, as well as for the leg extensors. In addition, authors observed increased motor unit synchronization of homologous muscle

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S. Morrison, Murray G. Tucker and Rod S. Barrett

This study examined changes in movement variability, coupling, and muscle activity across three different bilateral finger movements (e.g., postural, isometric, and isotonic). It was predicted that movements characterized by increased interlimb coupling would be associated with increased levels of muscle activity and reduced movement variability. The results demonstrated task-specific differences in interlimb relations with coupling being lowest during postural tasks and highest under isotonic conditions. However, a similar pattern was not observed for muscle activity and movement variability. Of the three tasks, postural tremor movements were more variable and had lower levels of muscle activity. Alternatively, increased muscle activity and more regular movement dynamics were seen under isometric conditions. Overall, it would appear that differences in bilateral coupling across tasks are not reflective of a single driving mechanism but rather reflect differential contribution from intrinsic neuromuscular and mechanical sources.

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Jay L. Alberts, Christopher M. Elder, Michael S. Okun and Jerrold L. Vitek

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of unilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) on the control and coordination of grasping forces produced by Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Ten advanced PD patients with unilateral DBS in the globus pallidus (GPi) or the subthalamic nucleus (STN) (5 patients in each group) performed a functional bimanual dexterous manipulation task. Experiments were performed in the “Off” medication state with DBS “On” and “Off.” DBS resulted in (a) significant clinical improvements, (b) greater maximum grip force for both limbs, (c) reduced movement time, and (d) bilateral coupling of grasping forces. There were no significant differences between the GPi and STN groups for any clinical or kinematic measures. DBS of the GPi and STN leads to an improvement in the motor functioning of advanced PD patients. Improvement in force-timing specification during DBS might allow PD patients to employ a feedforward method of force control.