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Delays in reticulospinal system are correlated with deficits in motor learning in older adults.

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Motor skill acquisition, the process by which individuals practice and consolidate movement to become faster, more accurate and efficient, declines with age. Initial skill acquisition is dominated by cortical structures; however as learning proceeds, literature from rodents and songbirds suggests

Motor skill acquisition, the process by which individuals practice and consolidate movement to become faster, more accurate and efficient, declines with age. Initial skill acquisition is dominated by cortical structures; however as learning proceeds, literature from rodents and songbirds suggests that there is a transition away from cortical execution. Recent evidence indicates that the reticulospinal system plays an important role in integration and retention of learned motor skills. The brainstem has known age-rated deficits including cell shrinkage & death. Given the role of the reticulospinal system in skill acquisition and older adult’s poor capacity to learn, it begs the question: are delays in the reticulospinal system associated with older adult’s poor capacity to learn?
Our objective was to evaluate if delays in the reticulospinal system (measured via the startle reflex) are correlated to impairment of motor learning in older adults. We found that individuals with fast startle responses resembling those of younger adults show the most learning and retention of that learning while individuals with delayed startle responses show the least. Moreover, linear regression analysis indicated that startle onset latency exists within a continuum of learning outcomes suggesting that startle onset latency may be a sensitive measure to predict learning deficits in older adults. As there exists no method to determine an individual’s relative learning capacity, these results open the possibility of startle, which is an easy and inexpensive behavioral measure, being used to predict learning deficits in older adults to facilitate better dosing during rehabilitation therapy.

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Date Created
2019-05

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The Impact of a Starting Acoustic Stimulus and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Reaction Times in Unimpaired Adults

Description

Motor skill acquisition, the process by which individuals practice and consolidate
movement to become faster, more accurate and efficient, declines with age. Initial skill acquisition is dominated by cortical structures; however as learning proceeds, literature from
rodents and songbirds suggests

Motor skill acquisition, the process by which individuals practice and consolidate
movement to become faster, more accurate and efficient, declines with age. Initial skill acquisition is dominated by cortical structures; however as learning proceeds, literature from
rodents and songbirds suggests that there is a transition away from cortical execution. Recent
evidence indicates that the reticulospinal system plays an important role in integration and
retention of learned motor skills. The brainstem has known age-rated deficits including cell
shrinkage & death. Given the role of the reticulospinal system in skill acquisition and older
adult’s poor capacity to learn, it begs the question: are delays in the reticulospinal system
associated with older adult’s poor capacity to learn?
Our objective was to evaluate if delays in the reticulospinal system (measured via the
startle reflex) and corticospinal system (measured via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) are correlated to impairment of motor learning in older adults. We found that individuals with fast startle responses resembling those of younger adults show the most improvement and retention while individuals with delayed startle responses show the least. We also found that there was no relationship between MEP latencies and improvement and retention. Moreover, linear regression analysis indicated that startle onset latency exists within a continuum of learning outcomes suggesting that startle onset latency may be a sensitive measure to predict learning deficits in older adults. As there exists no method to determine an individual’s relative learning capacity, these results open the possibility of startle, which is an easy and inexpensive behavioral measure and can be used to determine learning deficits in older adults to facilitate better dosing during rehabilitation therapy.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Startle-evoked movement in multi-jointed, two-dimensional reaching tasks

Description

Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown

Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown that SEM enhances single joint movements that are usually performed with difficulty. While the presence of SEM in the stroke survivor population advances scientific understanding of movement capabilities following a stroke, published studies using the SEM phenomenon only examined one joint. The ability of SEM to generate multi-jointed movements is understudied and consequently limits SEM as a potential therapy tool. In order to apply SEM as a therapy tool however, the biomechanics of the arm in multi-jointed movement planning and execution must be better understood. Thus, the objective of our study was to evaluate if SEM could elicit multi-joint reaching movements that were accurate in an unrestrained, two-dimensional workspace. Data was collected from ten subjects with no previous neck, arm, or brain injury. Each subject performed a reaching task to five Targets that were equally spaced in a semi-circle to create a two-dimensional workspace. The subject reached to each Target following a sequence of two non-startling acoustic stimuli cues: "Get Ready" and "Go". A loud acoustic stimuli was randomly substituted for the "Go" cue. We hypothesized that SEM is accessible and accurate for unrestricted multi-jointed reaching tasks in a functional workspace and is therefore independent of movement direction. Our results found that SEM is possible in all five Target directions. The probability of evoking SEM and the movement kinematics (i.e. total movement time, linear deviation, average velocity) to each Target are not statistically different. Thus, we conclude that SEM is possible in a functional workspace and is not dependent on where arm stability is maximized. Moreover, coordinated preparation and storage of a multi-jointed movement is indeed possible.

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Created

Date Created
2016-12