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Pai-Yun Cheng, Hsiao-Feng Chieh, Chien-Ju Lin, Hsiu-Yun Hsu, Jia-Jin J. Chen, Li-Chieh Kuo, and Fong-Chin Su

-extremity functions ( Liu et al., 2017 ; Shiffman, 1992 ). Muscle strength will be restrained by the number and mechanical properties of motor units ( Carmeli, Patish, & Coleman, 2003 ), and reduced sensory inputs might affect the sensorimotor coordination and force control of older adults ( Cole, 1991 ). Decreasing

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Nobuyuki Inui and Takuya Ichihara

To examine the relation between timing and force control during finger tapping sequences by both pianists and nonpianists, participants lapped a force plate connected to strain gauges. A series of finger tapping tasks consisted of 16 combinations of pace (intertap interval: 180. 200, 400. or 800 ms) and peak force (50, 100. 200. or 400 g). Analysis showed that, although movement timing was independent of force control under low or medium pace conditions, there were strong interactions between the 2 parameters under high pace conditions. The results indicate that participants adapted the movement by switching from separately controlling these parameters in the slow and moderate movement to coupling them in the fast movement. While variations in intertap interval affected force production by nonpianists. they had little effect for pianists. The ratios of time-to-peak force to press duration increased linearly in pianists but varied irregularly in nonpianists, as the required force decreased. Thus, pianists regulate peak force by timing control of peak force to press duration, suggesting that training affects the relationship between the 2 parameters.

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Nobuyuki Inui and Yumi Katsura

We conducted an experiment to examine age-related differences in the control of force and timing in a finger-tapping sequence with an attenuated-force tap. Participants between 7 and 20 years old tapped on a load cell with feedback on practice trials. They were required to recall the force pattern (300 g, 300 g, 300 g, 100 g) and the intertap interval (400 ms) without feedback on test trials. Analysis indicated that the last attenuated tap affected the first three taps of the tapping sequence in adults and adolescents but not in children. Adults and adolescents appeared to respond with four taps as a chunk, resulting in a contextual effect on the timing of force control, but younger children had difficulty with such chunking. Further, adults and adolescents were able to more accurately produce individual force magnitudes to match target magnitudes than younger children. For the ratio of force in serial positions 1:4, 2:4, and 3:4, consequently, 7- to 8-year-old children had lower ratios than the other age groups. Although there was no difference among age groups for timing control of peak force to press duration as a control strategy of force, 7- to 8-year-old children spent more time to produce force than the other age groups. Peak force with a decreased force was more variable in the attenuated force serial position (4) than in the other serial positions in all five age groups. Peak force variability was particularly robust in younger children. These findings suggest that younger children have difficulty with both temporal and spatial (i.e., magnitude) components of force control.

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Daniela JS Mattos, Susana Cristina Domenech, Noé Gomes Borges Junior, and Marcio José Santos

Eight subjects with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) (47.13 ± 7.83 years) and 8 matched controls (46.29 ± 7.27 years) manipulated a test object fitted with an accelerometer and force sensor, both before and after hand muscle fatigue. Grip force and object acceleration were recorded and used to calculate grip force control variables that included Grip Force Peak, Safety Margin, and Time to Grip Force Peak. Individuals with CTS exhibited a higher Safety Margin (p = .010) and longer Time to Peak of Grip Force (p = .012) than healthy controls during object manipulation. Once fatigued, both groups significantly decreased their grip force to perform the task (Grip Force Peak; p = .017 and Safety Margin; p < .001). Nevertheless, individuals with CTS maintained an unnecessarily high safety margin. Our results suggest that CTS can adversely affect how the central nervous system regulates grip force, which might aggravate the inflammatory process and exacerbate the symptoms of this disease.

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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.

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Nobuyuki Inui

An experiment was conducted to examine contextual effects of the magnitude of changes in force on force control in a finger-tapping sequence with an accentuated- (accentuated-force condition) or attenuated-force tap (attenuated-force condition). Participants were trained to produce a finger-tapping sequence with an intertap interval of 500 ms and four force patterns. During practice, visual force feedback pertaining to the two target forces in the tapping sequences was provided. After practice, the participants reproduced the learned tapping sequences in the absence of feedback. A main result was that the last accentuated-force tap affected the first three taps of the tapping sequence. For the accentuated-force conditions, the larger the difference between the first three target forces and the last target force, the larger the first three forces. This indicates the contextual effect of serial position for force control. This effect was not observed, however, under the attenuated-force conditions.

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Olivier Seynnes, Olivier A. Hue, Frédéric Garrandes, Serge S. Colson, Pierre L. Bernard, Patrick Legros, and Maria A. Fiatarone Singh

The relationship between isometric force control and functional performance is unknown. Submaximal steadiness and accuracy were measured during a constant force-matching task at 50% of maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC) of the knee extensors in 19 older women (70–89 years). Other variables included MVC, rate of torque development, and EMG activity. Functional performance was assessed during maximal performance of walking endurance, chair rising, and stair climbing. Isometric steadiness (but not accuracy) was found to independently predict chair-rise time and stair-climbing power and explained more variance in these tasks than any other variable. Walking endurance was related to muscle strength but not steadiness. These results suggest that steadiness is an independent predictor of brief, stressful functional-performance tasks in older women with mild functional impairment. Thus, improving steadiness might help reduce functional limitations or disability in older adults.

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Dennis A. Nowak, Joachim Hermsdörfer, Jens Philipp, Christian Marquardt, Stefan Glasauer, and Norbert Mai

We investigated the quality of predictive grip force control during gravity changes induced by parabolic flight maneuvers. During these maneuvers gravity varied: There were 2 periods of hypergravity, in which terrestrial gravity nearly doubled, and a 20-s period of microgravity, during which a manipulated object was virtually weightless. We determined grip and load forces during vertical point-to-point movements of an instrumented object. Point-to-point movements were a combination of static (stationary holding) and dynamic (continuous movements) task conditions, which were separately analyzed in our previous studies. Analysis of the produced grip forces revealed that grip adjustments were closely linked to load force fluctuations under each gravity condition. In particular, grip force maxima coincided closely in time with load force peaks, although these occurred at different phases of the movement depending on the gravity level. However, quantitative analysis of the ratio of maximum grip force to the corresponding load force peak revealed an increased force ratio during microgravity when compared to that during normal and hypergravity, We hypothesize that the impaired precision of force coupling with respect to force magnitude during microgravity results from reduced feedback information about the object's mass during the stationary holding of the object in between each movement. The results indicate that the temporal grip force regulation is highly automatized and stable, whereas economical planning of force magnitude is more flexible and might reflect changes of the external loading condition.

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Christopher A. Knight, Adam R. Marmon, and Dhiraj H. Poojari

Subjects learned to produce brief isometric force pulses that were 10% of their maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force. Subjects became proficient at performing sets of 10 pulses within boundaries of 8–12% MVC, with visual feedback and without (kinesthetic sense). In both the control (Con, n = 10) and experimental (Exp, n = 20) groups, subjects performed two sets of 10 kinesthetically guided pulses. Subjects then either performed a 10-s MVC (Exp) or remained at rest (Con) between sets. Following the MVC, Exp subjects had force errors of +30%, whereas performance was maintained in Con. There was evidence for both muscular and neural contributions to these errors. Postactivation potentiation resulted in a 40% gain in muscle contractility (p = .003), and there was a 26% increase in the neural stimulation of muscle (p = .014). Multiple regression indicated that the change in neural input had a stronger relationship with force errors than the increased contractility.

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Mehmet Uygur, Goran Prebeg, and Slobodan Jaric

We compared two standard methods routinely used to assess the grip force (GF; perpendicular force that hand exerts upon the hand-held object) in the studies of coordination of GF and load force (LF; tangential force) in manipulation tasks. A variety of static tasks were tested, and GF-LF coupling (i.e., the maximum cross-correlation between the forces) was assessed. GF was calculated either as the minimum value of the two opposing GF components acting upon the hand-held object (GFmin) or as their average value (GFavg). Although both methods revealed high GF-LF correlation coefficients, most of the data revealed the higher values for GFavg than for GFmin. Therefore, we conclude that the CNS is more likely to take into account GFavg than GFmin when controlling static manipulative actions as well as that GFavg should be the variable of choice in kinetic analyses of static manipulation tasks.