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Rachael D. Seidler, Jay L. Alberts, and George E. Stelmach

The purpose of this study was to determine whether elderly adults exhibit deficits in the performance of multi-joint movements. Two groups of subjects (mean ages, 68.9 and 30.1 years, respectively) participated in this experiment. Subjects performed planar arm pointing movements to various targets. One target could be achieved via elbow extension only, while the remaining 3 required both elbow extension and horizontal shoulder flexion, thus requiring coordination at the 2 joints. In contrast to the young adults, the elderly adults produced movements that became less smooth and less accurate with increasing shoulder joint contribution. The results imply a selective coordination deficit for the elderly adults. In addition, the elderly adults coactivated opposing muscles more than the young adults for the single-joint movement. However, the elderly adults reduced coactivation at both joints for the 2-joint actions, while the young adults did not. These data suggest a relationship between high coactivation levels and good performance for elderly adults. It may be more difficult for the elderly to implement high coactivation levels for multi-joint movements because of the increased energy costs and complexity of planning required in comparison to the single joint actions. Thus, to achieve motor performance, elderly persons appear to use coactivation in a manner that is fundamentally different than young adults.

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Wei Liu, Jill Whitall, and Thomas M. Kepple

Functional arm reaching involves multilinked joints: shoulder, elbow, and wrist. We propose that induced position analysis is a useful analytical tool for multijoint coordination of arm reaching. This method was used to compute the contributions of the net joint moment to the hand position when reaching forward. We describe the method and give examples of validating this model with motion capture data. The shoulder and elbow were prime movers of the arm: both acted together with an “overshoot” and “undershoot” pattern respectively to move the hand forward into the final position.

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Caroline J. Ketcham, Natalia V. Dounskaia, and George E. Stelmach

The present study investigates whether regulation of interactive torque during multijoint movements decays with advanced age as a result of declines in the motor system. Young and elderly adults repeatedly drew a circle and ovals oriented in different directions using shoulder and elbow joint movements. Each template was traced at three levels of cycling frequency with and without vision. Although vision did not affect performance, increases in cycling frequency caused distortions of movement trajectories in both groups. The pattern of distortions differed, however, between the groups. These differences were accounted for by differences in elbow control. Young adults provided regulation of elbow amplitude and timing by matching muscle torque magnitude with increased interactive torque. In contrast, elderly adults did not increase muscle torque magnitude and modulated torque timing for elbow motion regulation. This strategy is discussed as adaptation to decrements in the aging motor system.

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Gary D. Heise

The purpose of this investigation was to determine, for a planar, multijoint throwing skill, if the interactions of segment energetics change over the course of practice. Eighteen men threw a weighted ball with their dominant arm at a target while the motion was restrained to a horizontal plane. From video data and body segment inertia! estimations, the energy transferred by the net joint force and the mechanical work attributed to the net joint moment were calculated for selected practice trials. Performance scores showed an expected improvement over trial blocks. An energetics analysis indicated that, for the throw, the mechanical work generated by muscle and transferred through muscle (i.e., via the net joint moment) across the elbow joint and the energy transferred by the net joint force across the wrist joint increased early in practice; however, no changes were observed in the relative contributions made by these components. The results indicated that, although performance increased significantly, the movement strategy used by subjects was intact throughout practice.

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Anne Beuter

This paper proposes a computer graphics approach to represent the kinematics of the lower limb during a multijoint coordinated motor task. The methodology is based on automatic digitization by a microprocessor of reflective markers placed on anatomical landmarks and videotaped using a videomotion analyzer and camera. Thus, the investigator can represent complete movement patterns graphically. With joint angles, or the first or second derivative of the angles serving as the coordinates for the three mutually perpendicular axes in R3, the technique gives a point in space corresponding to each time increment as the movement sequence progresses. Using this method, a graphical representation of the position, velocity, or acceleration can be generated in movement space, velocity space, or acceleration space, respectively. A sample of the results of this technique is presented using the movement space of elderly, nonhandicapped, and cerebral palsied individuals as each steps over a low obstacle. The cluster of data points created for each subject are connected to form a three-dimensional graphical representation of the covariation between joint angles. The use of the approach is discussed in relation to future research in neuromuscular coordination using concepts from catastrophe theory. Possible applications for handicapped individuals are mentioned.

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Hiroshi Arakawa, Akinori Nagano, Dean C. Hay, and Hiroaki Kanehisa

The current study aimed to investigate the effect of ankle restriction on the coordination of vertical jumping and discuss the influence of energy transfer through m. gastrocnemius on the multijoint movement. Eight participants performed two types of vertical jumps: a normal squat jump, and a squat jump with restricted ankle joint movement. Mechanical outputs were calculated using an inverse dynamics analysis. Custom-made shoes were used to restrict plantar flexion, resulting in significantly (P < .001) reduced maximum power and work at the ankle joint to below 2% and 3%, while maintaining natural range of motion at the hip and knee. Based on the comparison between the two types of jumps, we determined that the ankle restriction increased (P < .001) the power (827 ± 346 W vs. 1276 ± 326 W) and work (92 ± 34 J vs. 144 ± 36 J) at the knee joint. A large part of the enhanced output at the knee is assumed to be due to ankle restriction, which results in the nullification of energy transport via m. gastrocnemius; that is, reduced contribution of the energy transfer with ankle restriction appeared as augmentation at the knee joint.

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Paul Comfort, Thomas Dos’Santos, Paul A. Jones, John J. McMahon, Timothy J. Suchomel, Caleb Bazyler, and Michael H. Stone

during a multijoint IMTP, 1 with correlations between force at specific time points (50, 90, and 250 ms) and jump performance improving with an increase in duration (later time points). 11 It is important to reliably measure such changes in force production to monitor the training status of athletes

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Natalia V. Dounskaia, Caroline J. Ketcham, and George E. Stelmach

Influence of mechanical interactions between the shoulder and elbow on production of different coordination patterns during horizontal arm movements is investigated in the present study. Subjects performed cyclical movements along a circle and along lines of 4 different orientations. Cycling frequency was manipulated to highlight control features responsible for interactive torque regulation. When the shoulder was involved in motion, torque analysis revealed that this joint was controlled similarly during all movement types. At the elbow, however, each movement type required a specific pattern of regulation of interactive torque with muscle torque. When interactive torque acted in the direction of the required elbow rotation, the demands for active control were lower than when the interactive torque resisted elbow motion and had to be actively suppressed. Kinematic analysis demonstrated that increases in cycling frequency systematically deformed the fingertip path. The amount of these deformations differed across movement types, being more pronounced for movements where the interactive torque resisted joint motion. It appears that interactive torque can assist or resist movement at the joints, making control of some movement types more difficult than others.

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Chuyi Cui, Brittney Muir, Shirley Rietdyk, Jeffrey Haddad, Richard van Emmerik, and Satyajit Ambike

(Figure  4 ). However, it has been suggested that instructions to alter the kinematics of a single joint during gait training may not address issues with toe clearance. 42 Interventions targeting multijoint coordination will likely be more effective in improving functional recovery, 43 , 44 and this

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Amirhossein K. Vafadar, Julie N. Côté, and Philippe S. Archambault

The purpose of this study was to estimate the extent to which muscle fatigue can impact on the position sense in the upper limb. Twelve healthy volunteers were asked to do a reaching task while grasping a wooden block and match the block’s position with a corresponding target displayed on a flat screen, without vision. Following that, subjects performed resistive exercises with Thera-band strips until fatigue was induced and then the position sense task was repeated. A significant change in the endpoint position was observed after fatigue, in the up/down direction (p ≤ .001). The variability of endpoint positions in up/down direction was also significantly increased after fatigue (p ≤.03). There was no significant change in endpoint orientation but there was a significant fatigue × orientation effect on endpoint rotational variability. In a follow-up experiment, a group of subjects repeated the same protocol, but with a period of quiet rest between the two position sense tasks. In that group, there were no differences in endpoint position, orientation or variability. Muscle fatigue is an important factor that should be taken into consideration during the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries as well as athletic training.