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Gerald L. Gottlieb

The lambda version of the equilibrium-point (EP) hypothesis as developed by Feldman and colleagues has been widely used and cited with insufficient critical understanding. This article offers a small antidote to that lack. First, the hypothesis implicitly, unrealistically assumes identical transformations of lambda into muscle tension for antagonist muscles. Without that assumption, its definitions of command variables R, C, and lambda are incompatible and an EP is not defined exclusively by R nor is it unaffected by C. Second, the model assumes unrealistic and unphysiological parameters for the damping properties of the muscles and reflexes. Finally, the theory lacks rules for two of its three command variables. A theory of movement should offer insight into why we make movements the way we do and why we activate muscles in particular patterns. The EP hypothesis offers no unique ideas that are helpful in addressing either of these questions.

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Heloisa Suzano de Almeida, Flávia Porto, Marcelo Porretti, Gabriella Lopes, Daniele Fiorot, Priscila dos Santos Bunn, and Elirez Bezerra da Silva

(postural balance or Balance, Postural or Musculoskeletal Equilibrium or Equilibrium, Musculoskeletal or Postural Equilibrium or Equilibrium, Postural) 92 CINAHL TX (Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease OR Lewy Body Parkinson Disease OR Lewy Body Parkinson's Disease OR Primary Parkinsonism OR Parkinsonism

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Mark L. Latash

The article offers a way to unite three recent developments in the field of motor control and coordination: (1) The notion of synergies is introduced based on the principle of motor abundance; (2) The uncontrolled manifold hypothesis is described as offering a computational framework to identify and quantify synergies; and (3) The equilibrium-point hypothesis is described for a single muscle, single joint, and multijoint systems. Merging these concepts into a single coherent scheme requires focusing on control variables rather than performance variables. The principle of minimal final action is formulated as the guiding principle within the referent configuration hypothesis. Motor actions are associated with setting two types of variables by a controller, those that ultimately define average performance patterns and those that define associated synergies. Predictions of the suggested scheme are reviewed, such as the phenomenon of anticipatory synergy adjustments, quick actions without changes in synergies, atypical synergies, and changes in synergies with practice. A few models are briefly reviewed.

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Abbis H. Jaffri, Thomas M. Newman, Brent I. Smith, Giampietro L. Vairo, Craig R. Denegar, William E. Buckley, and Sayers J. Miller

speculate that because of the differences in the nature of the tasks, we were able to identify differences in the DLBT but did not see any difference in the SEBT. The need for repetitive serial changes in the base of support in the DLBT, regaining equilibrium from multiple directions, and the increased

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Mark L. Latash, Jae Kun Shim, Fan Gao, and Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

We review a series of studies that show stabilization of the moment of a couple produced by a set of digits in many maximal and submaximal accurate force production tasks that have no requirements for the moment. In particular, an unusual and novel multi-digit force production task shows stabilization of the total moment while the total force requires extensive practice to be stabilized. Similar results were obtained in persons with Down syndrome during easier tasks. During prehension, changes in digit forces and coordinates of their points of application suggest the presence of two multi-digit synergies whose purpose is to assure a certain grip force and a certain total moment, respectively. Elderly persons show impaired production of both maximal and submaximal moments that goes beyond their documented loss of muscle force. We conclude that moment production (keeping rotational equilibrium) is a central constraint in a variety of multi-digit tasks that has received little attention. Analysis of digit interaction for moment production during handwriting could signify a major step towards understanding the control of this action.

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Jürgen Konczak, Kai Brommann, and Karl Theodor Kalveram

Knowledge of how stiffness, damping, and the equilibrium position of specific limbs change during voluntary motion is important for understanding basic strategies of neuromotor control. Presented here is an algorithm for identifying time-dependent changes in joint stiffness, damping, and equilibrium position of the human forearm. The procedure requires data from only a single trial. The method relies neither on an analysis of the resonant frequency of the arm nor on the presence of an external bias force. Its validity was tested with a simulated forward model of the human forearm. Using the parameter estimations as forward model input, the angular kinematics (model output) were reconstructed and compared to the empirically measured data. Identification of mechanical impedance is based on a least-squares solution of the model equation. As a regularization technique and to improve the temporal resolution of the identification process, a moving temporal window with a variable width was imposed. The method's performance was tested by (a) identifying a priori known hypothetical time-series of stiffness, damping, and equilibrium position, and (b) determining impedance parameters from recorded single-joint forearm movements during a hold and a goal-directed movement task. The method reliably reconstructed the original angular kinematics of the artificial and human data with an average positional error of less than 0.05 rad for movement amplitudes of up to 0.9 rad, and did not yield hypermetric trajectories like previous procedures not accounting for damping.

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Pieter Tijtgat, Jos Vanrenterghem, Simon J. Bennett, Dirk De Clercq, Geert J.P. Savelsbergh, and Matthieu Lenoir

The purpose of this study was to investigate postural adjustments in one-handed ball catching. Specifically, the functional role of anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) during the initial arm raising and subsequent postural adjustments (SPA) for equilibrium control and ball-hand impact were scrutinized. Full-body kinematics and kinetics allowed an analysis of the mechanical consequences of raising up the arm and preparing for ball-hand impact. APA for catching were suggested to be for segment stabilization. SPA had a functional role for equilibrium control by an inverted pendulum mechanism but were also involved in preparing for the impact of the ball on the hand, which was illustrated by an increased postural response at the end of the movement. These results were compared with raising up the arm in a well-studied reaction-time task, for which an additional counter rotation equilibrium mechanism was observed. Together, our findings demonstrate that postural adjustments should be investigated in relation to their specific functional task constraints, rather than generalizing the functional role of these postural adjustments over different tasks.

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Robert L. Sainburg

The purpose of this commentary is to discuss factors that limit consideration of the equilibrium point hypothesis as a scientific theory. The EPH describes control of motor neuron threshold through the variable lambda, which corresponds to a unique referent configuration for a muscle, joint, or combination of joints. One of the most compelling features of the equilibrium point hypothesis is the integration of posture and movement control into a single mechanism. While the essential core of the hypothesis is based upon spinal circuitry interacting with peripheral mechanics, the proponents have extended the theory to include the higher-level processes that generate lambda, and in doing so, imposed an injunction against the supraspinal nervous system modeling, computing, or predicting dynamics. This limitation contradicts evidence that humans take account of body and environmental dynamics in motor selection, motor control, and motor adaptation processes. A number of unresolved limitations to the EPH have been debated in the literature for many years, including whether muscle resistance to displacement, measured during movement, is adequate to support this form of control, violations in equifinality predictions, spinal circuits that alter the proposed invariant characteristic for muscles, and limitations in the description of how the complexity of spinal circuitry might be integrated to yield a unique and stable equilibrium position for a given motor neuron threshold. In addition, an important empirical limitation of EPH is the measurement of the invariant characteristic, which needs to be done under a constant central state. While there is no question that the EPH is an elegant and generative hypothesis for motor control research, the claim that this hypothesis has reached the status of a scientific theory is premature.

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Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and Marcos Duarte

A method of decomposing stabilograms into two components, termed rambling and trembling, was developed. The rambling component reveals the motion of a moving reference point with respect to which the body's equilibrium is instantantly maintained. The trembling component reflects body oscillation around the reference point trajectory. The concepts of instant equilibrium point (IEP) and discrete IEP trajectory are introduced. The rambling trajectory was computed by interpolating the discrete IEP trajectory with cubic spline functions. The trembling trajectory is found as a difference between the approximated rambling trajectory and the COP trajectory. Instant values of the trembling trajectory are negatively correlated with the values of the horizontal ground reaction force at a zero time lag. It suggests that trembling is strongly influenced by a restoring force proportional to the magnitude of COP deviation from the rambling trajectory and acts without a time delay. An increment in relative COP position per unit of the restoring force, in mm/N, was on average 1.4 ± 0.4. The contribution of rambling and trembling components in the stabilogram was ascertained. The rambling variability is approximately three times larger than the trembling variability.

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James R. Tresilian

The λ version of the equilibrium point (EP) hypothesis for motor control is examined in light of recent criticisms of its various instantiations. Four important assumptions that have formed the basis for recent criticism are analyzed: First, the assumption that intact muscles possess invariant force-length characteristics (ICs). Second, that these ICs are of the same form in agonist-antagonist pairs. Third, that muscle control is monoparametric and that the control parameter, λ, can be given a neurophysiological interpretation. Fourth, that reflex loop time delays and the known, asymmetric, nonlinear mechanical properties of muscles can be ignored. Mechanical and neurophysiological investigations of the neuromuscular system suggests that none of these assumptions is likely to be correct. This has been taken to mean that the EP hypothesis is oversimplified and a new approach is needed. It is argued that such an approach can be provided without rejecting the EP hypothesis, rather to regard it as an input-output description of muscle and associated segmental circuits. The operation of the segmental circuitry can be interpreted as having the function, at least in part, of compensating for a variety of nonlinearities and asymmetries such that the overall system implements the λ-EP model equations.