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Can Startle Elicit Sequential Movements in Highly Trained Individuals?

Description

Most daily living tasks consist of pairing a series of sequential movements, e.g., reaching to a cup, grabbing the cup, lifting and returning the cup to your mouth. The process by which we control and mediate the smooth progression of

Most daily living tasks consist of pairing a series of sequential movements, e.g., reaching to a cup, grabbing the cup, lifting and returning the cup to your mouth. The process by which we control and mediate the smooth progression of these tasks is not well understood. One method which we can use to further evaluate these motions is known as Startle Evoked Movements (SEM). SEM is an established technique to probe the motor learning and planning processes by detecting muscle activation of the sternocleidomastoid muscles of the neck prior to 120ms after a startling stimulus is presented. If activation of these muscles was detected following a stimulus in the 120ms window, the movement is classified as Startle+ whereas if no sternocleidomastoid activation is detected after a stimulus in the allotted time the movement is considered Startle-. For a movement to be considered SEM, the activation of movements for Startle+ trials must be faster than the activation of Startle- trials. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect that expertise has on sequential movements as well as determining if startle can distinguish when the consolidation of actions, known as chunking, has occurred. We hypothesized that SEM could distinguish words that were solidified or chunked. Specifically, SEM would be present when expert typists were asked to type a common word but not during uncommon letter combinations. The results from this study indicated that the only word that was susceptible to SEM, where Startle+ trials were initiated faster than Startle-, was an uncommon task "HET" while the common words "AND" and "THE" were not. Additionally, the evaluation of the differences between each keystroke for common and uncommon words showed that Startle was unable to distinguish differences in motor chunking between Startle+ and Startle- trials. Explanations into why these results were observed could be related to hand dominance in expert typists. No proper research has been conducted to evaluate the susceptibility of the non-dominant hand's fingers to SEM, and the results of future studies into this as well as the results from this study can impact our understanding of sequential movements.

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2018-05

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Startle can evoke individuated movements of the fingers; implications for neural control

Description

Startle-evoked-movement (SEM), the involuntary release of a planned movement via a startling stimulus, has gained significant attention recently for its ability to probe motor planning as well as enhance movement of the upper extremity following stroke. We recently showed that

Startle-evoked-movement (SEM), the involuntary release of a planned movement via a startling stimulus, has gained significant attention recently for its ability to probe motor planning as well as enhance movement of the upper extremity following stroke. We recently showed that hand movements are susceptible to SEM. Interestingly, only coordinated movements of the hand (grasp) but not individuated movements of the finger (finger abduction) were susceptible. It was suggested that this resulted from different neural mechanisms involved in each task; however it is possible this was the result of task familiarity. The objective of this study was to evaluate a more familiar individuated finger movement, typing, to determine if this task was susceptible to SEM. We hypothesized that typing movements will be susceptible to SEM in all fingers. These results indicate that individuated movements of the fingers are susceptible to SEM when the task involves a more familiar task, since the electromyogram (EMG) latency is faster in SCM+ trials compared to SCM- trials. However, the middle finger does not show a difference in terms of the keystroke voltage signal, suggesting the middle finger is less susceptible to SEM. Given that SEM is thought to be mediated by the brainstem, specifically the reticulospinal tract, this suggest that the brainstem may play a role in movements of the distal limb when those movements are very familiar, and the independence of each finger might also have a significant on the effect of SEM. Further research includes understanding SEM in fingers in the stroke population. The implications of this research can impact the way upper extremity rehabilitation is delivered.

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Date Created
2016-12

Intracortical microstimulation of somatosensory cortex: functional encoding and localization of neuronal recruitment

Description

Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) within somatosensory cortex can produce artificial sensations including touch, pressure, and vibration. There is significant interest in using ICMS to provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb. In such a system, information recorded from sensors on the

Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) within somatosensory cortex can produce artificial sensations including touch, pressure, and vibration. There is significant interest in using ICMS to provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb. In such a system, information recorded from sensors on the prosthetic would be translated into electrical stimulation and delivered directly to the brain, providing feedback about features of objects in contact with the prosthetic. To achieve this goal, multiple simultaneous streams of information will need to be encoded by ICMS in a manner that produces robust, reliable, and discriminable sensations. The first segment of this work focuses on the discriminability of sensations elicited by ICMS within somatosensory cortex. Stimulation on multiple single electrodes and near-simultaneous stimulation across multiple electrodes, driven by a multimodal tactile sensor, were both used in these experiments. A SynTouch BioTac sensor was moved across a flat surface in several directions, and a subset of the sensor's electrode impedance channels were used to drive multichannel ICMS in the somatosensory cortex of a non-human primate. The animal performed a behavioral task during this stimulation to indicate the discriminability of sensations evoked by the electrical stimulation. The animal's responses to ICMS were somewhat inconsistent across experimental sessions but indicated that discriminable sensations were evoked by both single and multichannel ICMS. The factors that affect the discriminability of stimulation-induced sensations are not well understood, in part because the relationship between ICMS and the neural activity it induces is poorly defined. The second component of this work was to develop computational models that describe the populations of neurons likely to be activated by ICMS. Models of several neurons were constructed, and their responses to ICMS were calculated. A three-dimensional cortical model was constructed using these cell models and used to identify the populations of neurons likely to be recruited by ICMS. Stimulation activated neurons in a sparse and discontinuous fashion; additionally, the type, number, and location of neurons likely to be activated by stimulation varied with electrode depth.

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Date Created
2013

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Volitional control of a powered prosthetic ankle

Description

Approximately 1.7 million people in the United States are living with limb loss and are in need of more sophisticated devices that better mimic human function. In the Human Machine Integration Laboratory, a powered, transtibial prosthetic ankle was designed and

Approximately 1.7 million people in the United States are living with limb loss and are in need of more sophisticated devices that better mimic human function. In the Human Machine Integration Laboratory, a powered, transtibial prosthetic ankle was designed and build that allows a person to regain ankle function with improved ankle kinematics and kinetics. The ankle allows a person to walk normally and up and down stairs, but volitional control is still an issue. This research tackled the problem of giving the user more control over the prosthetic ankle using a force/torque circuit. When the user presses against a force/torque sensor located inside the socket the prosthetic foot plantar flexes or moves downward. This will help the user add additional push-off force when walking up slopes or stairs. It also gives the user a sense of control over the device.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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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

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Haptic discrimination of object size using vibratory sensory substitution

Description

Humans constantly rely on a complex interaction of a variety of sensory modalities in order to complete even the simplest of daily tasks. For reaching and grasping to interact with objects, the visual, tactile, and proprioceptive senses provide the majority

Humans constantly rely on a complex interaction of a variety of sensory modalities in order to complete even the simplest of daily tasks. For reaching and grasping to interact with objects, the visual, tactile, and proprioceptive senses provide the majority of the information used. While vision is often relied on for many tasks, most people are able to accomplish common daily rituals without constant visual attention, instead relying mainly on tactile and proprioceptive cues. However, amputees using prosthetic arms do not have access to these cues, making tasks impossible without vision. Even tasks with vision can be incredibly difficult as prosthesis users are unable to modify grip force using touch, and thus tend to grip objects excessively hard to make sure they don’t slip.

Methods such as vibratory sensory substitution have shown promise for providing prosthesis users with a sense of contact and have proved helpful in completing motor tasks. In this thesis, two experiments were conducted to determine whether vibratory cues could be useful in discriminating between sizes. In the first experiment, subjects were asked to grasp a series of hidden virtual blocks of varying sizes with vibrations on the fingertips as indication of contact and compare the size of consecutive boxes. Vibratory haptic feedback significantly increased the accuracy of size discrimination over objects with only visual indication of contact, though accuracy was not as great as for typical grasping tasks with physical blocks. In the second, subjects were asked to adjust their virtual finger position around a series of virtual boxes with vibratory feedback on the fingertips using either finger movement or EMG. It was found that EMG control allowed for significantly less accuracy in size discrimination, implying that, while proprioceptive feedback alone is not enough to determine size, direct kinesthetic information about finger position is still needed.

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Created

Date Created
2016

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Anticipatory muscle responses for transitioning between rigid surface and surfaces of different compliance:: towards smart ankle-foot prostheses

Description

Locomotion is of prime importance in enabling human beings to effectively respond

in space and time to meet different needs. Approximately 2 million Americans live

with an amputation with most of those amputations being of the lower limbs. To

advance current state-of-the-art lower

Locomotion is of prime importance in enabling human beings to effectively respond

in space and time to meet different needs. Approximately 2 million Americans live

with an amputation with most of those amputations being of the lower limbs. To

advance current state-of-the-art lower limb prosthetic devices, it is necessary to adapt

performance at a level of intelligence seen in human walking. As such, this thesis

focuses on the mechanisms involved during human walking, while transitioning from

rigid to compliant surfaces such as from pavement to sand, grass or granular media.

Utilizing a unique tool, the Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST), as the platform for

human walking, rigid to compliant surface transitions are simulated. The analysis of

muscular activation during the transition from rigid to different compliant surfaces

reveals specific anticipatory muscle activation that precedes stepping on a compliant

surface. There is also an indication of varying responses for different surface stiffness

levels. This response is observed across subjects. Results obtained are novel and

useful in establishing a framework for implementing control algorithm parameters to

improve powered ankle prosthesis. With this, it is possible for the prosthesis to adapt

to a new surface and therefore resulting in a more robust smart powered lower limb

prosthesis.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019