Matching Items (15)

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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

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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  • 2016-12

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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

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

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

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StartReact and its Effect on Functional Upper Extremity Motor Tasks

Description

The phenomenon known as startReact is the fast, involuntary execution of a planned movement triggered by a startling acoustic stimulus. StartReact has previously been analyzed in simple motor movements such

The phenomenon known as startReact is the fast, involuntary execution of a planned movement triggered by a startling acoustic stimulus. StartReact has previously been analyzed in simple motor movements such as finger abduction tasks, hand grasp tasks, and elbow extension tasks. More complex movements have also been analyzed, but there have been limited studies that look into functional complex tasks that require end-point accuracy. The objective of this project was to assess the ability to elicit startReact in tasks that simulate activities of daily living like feeding or picking up a glass of water. We hypothesized that a startReact response would be present in complex functional tasks, but the response would not be as accurate due to the increase in speed. Five subjects performed a simulated feeding task by moving kidney beans from one target to another where the end target changed in diameter as well as, a simulated drinking task where the subject moved a cup full of beads from one target to another. The hypothesis was supported due to a significant difference between no stimulus and stimulus trials for tricep muscle onset time, duration time, and the accuracy parameters of amount of beans dropped and weight in beads dropped. The results coincided with previous studies where subjects compensated for the change in diameter by increasing reaction time as the target diameter size decreased. The data obtained contradicted a previous study in relation to the duration time between the tasks due to our smallest diameter size having a faster duration time in comparison to the other diameter sizes. This study provides preliminary data that could assist researchers and clinicians in improving physical therapy methods for patients with impaired upper extremity motor movements.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-12

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Investigating the Effect of Sleep Deprivation on the Startle Response

Description

Older adults tend to learn at a lesser extent and slower rate than younger individuals. This is especially problematic for older adults at risk to injury or neurological disease who

Older adults tend to learn at a lesser extent and slower rate than younger individuals. This is especially problematic for older adults at risk to injury or neurological disease who require therapy to learn and relearn motor skills. There is evidence that the reticulospinal system is critical to motor learning and that deficits in the reticulospinal system may be responsible, at least in part, for learning deficits in older adults. Specifically, delays in the reticulospinal system (measured via the startle reflex) are related to poor motor learning and retention in older adults. However, the mechanism underlying these delays in the reticulospinal system is currently unknown.

Along with aging, sleep deprivation is correlated with learning deficits. Research has shown that a lack of sleep negatively impacts motor skill learning and consolidation. Since there is a link between sleep and learning, as well as learning and the reticulospinal system, these observations raise the question: does sleep deprivation underlie reticulospinal delays? We hypothesized that sleep deprivation was correlated to a slower startle response, indicating a delayed reticulospinal system. Our objectives were to observe the impact of sleep deprivation on 1) the startle response (characterized by muscle onset latency and percentage of startle responses elicited) and 2) functional performance (to determine whether subjects were sufficiently sleep deprived).

21 young adults participated in two experimental sessions: one control session (8-10 hour time in bed opportunity for at least 3 nights prior) and one sleep deprivation session (0 hour time in bed opportunity for one night prior). The same protocol was conducted during each session. First, subjects were randomly exposed to 15 loud, startling acoustic stimuli of 120 dB. Electromyography (EMG) data measured muscle activity from the left and right sternocleidomastoid (LSCM and RSCM), biceps brachii, and triceps brachii. To assess functional performance, cognitive, balance, and motor tests were also administered. The EMG data were analyzed in MATLAB. A generalized linear mixed model was performed on LSCM and RSCM onset latencies. Paired t-tests were performed on the percentage of startle responses elicited and functional performance metrics. A p-value of less than 0.05 indicated significance.

Thirteen out of 21 participants displayed at least one startle response during their control and sleep deprived sessions and were further analyzed. No differences were found in onset latency (RSCM: control = 75.87 ± 21.94ms, sleep deprived = 82.06 ± 27.47ms; LSCM: control = 79.53 ± 17.85ms, sleep deprived = 78.48 ± 20.75ms) and percentage of startle responses elicited (control = 84.10 ± 15.53%; sleep deprived = 83.59 ± 18.58%) between the two sessions. However, significant differences were observed in reaction time, TUG with Dual time, and average balance time with the right leg up. Our data did not support our hypothesis; no significant differences were seen between subjects’ startle responses during the control and sleep deprived sessions. However, sleep deprivation was indicated with declines were observed in functional performance. Therefore, we concluded that sleep deprivation may not affect the startle response and underlie delays in the reticulospinal system.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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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;

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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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Delays in reticulospinal system are correlated with deficits in motor learning in older 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;

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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The Influence of Walking Speed on Gaze Behaviors

Description

In this experiment, three cats walked freely in four different conditions (walking on a flat surface in the dark, walking on a flat surface in the light, along a horizontal

In this experiment, three cats walked freely in four different conditions (walking on a flat surface in the dark, walking on a flat surface in the light, along a horizontal ladder, and a stone-cluttered pathway) while gaze was recorded. Four gaze behaviors were identified based upon head and eye velocity parameters relative to the walking velocity of the cat: constant gaze, fixation, gaze shift away, and gaze shift toward (see Methods). The objective of the study was to determine whether speed influences the phase that these gaze behaviors occur, where phase is defined as the degree from 0-360 of the step cycle. In the step cycle, 0 degrees is defined as the start of swing of the right forelimb. Additionally, speed’s influence on the uniformity of gaze behaviors to the step cycle was investigated in the three cats. The cats performed complex walking tasks, or conditions, as well as simple tasks to determine if speed has a greater effect on gaze behavior timing when walking terrain was difficult. I hypothesized that 1) gaze-stride coordination would be influenced by speed, 2) faster steps would show improved gaze behavior uniformity between subjects, and 3) fast steps during complex walking tasks would show further improvement of gaze behavior uniformity between subjects. To, this end, recorded steps were first split into fast and slow steps based upon step duration parameters (see Methods). These fast and slow steps were confirmed as significantly different from one another using a one-way ANOVA test on a linear mixed effects model (Table 3). Then, a linear mixed effects model was made per walking condition to account for subject effects, and a two-way ANOVA test was performed on the model to compare the phases of gaze behaviors to the speed when they occurred. It was found that speed does not influence the phase that gaze behaviors occur, except for walking on a flat surface in the dark. However, post-hoc tests could not be run to determine which behaviors were affected by speed. (see Discussion). The insignificance of speed suggests that speed is accounted for by the visual center responsible for the control of gaze behavior (see Discussion). Aside from speed’s influence on phase, uniformity was examined using standard deviation (Figure 3 ). It was found that faster steps tend to adopt a “gaze stepping” behavior described in a previous paper (Rivers et al. 2014). In future studies, it would be useful to increase the number of subjects for a similar experiment to improve the robustness of the results to determine if the relationship between speed and gaze behaviors reported in this paper is accurately depicted.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Evaluating the Effects of Ankle-Foot-Orthoses, Functional Electrical Stimulators, and Trip-specific Training on Fall Outcomes in Individuals with Stroke

Description

This dissertation aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and drawbacks of promising fall prevention strategies in individuals with stroke by rigorously analyzing the biomechanics of laboratory falls and compensatory movements required

This dissertation aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and drawbacks of promising fall prevention strategies in individuals with stroke by rigorously analyzing the biomechanics of laboratory falls and compensatory movements required to prevent a fall. Ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) and functional electrical stimulators (FESs) are commonly prescribed to treat foot drop. Despite well-established positive impacts of AFOs and FES devices on balance and gait, AFO and FES users fall at a high rate. In chapter 2 (as a preliminary study), solely mechanical impacts of a semi-rigid AFO on the compensatory stepping response of young healthy individuals following trip-like treadmill perturbations were evaluated. It was found that a semi-rigid AFO on the stepping leg diminished the propulsive impulse of the compensatory step which led to decreased trunk movement control, shorter step length, and reduced center of mass (COM) stability. These results highlight the critical role of plantarflexors in generating an effective compensatory stepping response. In chapter 3, the underlying biomechanical mechanisms leading to high fall risk in long-term AFO and FES users with chronic stroke were studied. It was found that AFO and FES users fall more than Non-users because they have a more impaired lower limb that is not fully addressed by AFO/FES, therefore leading to a more impaired compensatory stepping response characterized by increased inability to generate a compensatory step with paretic leg and decreased trunk movement control. An ideal future AFO that provides dorsiflexion assistance during the swing phase and plantarflexion assistance during the push-off phase of gait is suggested to enhance the compensatory stepping response and reduce more falls. In chapter 4, the effects of a single-session trip-specific training on the compensatory stepping response of individuals with stroke were evaluated. Trunk movement control was improved after a single session of training suggesting that this type of training is a viable option to enhance compensatory stepping response and reduce falls in individuals with stroke. Finally, a future powered AFO with plantarflexion assistance complemented by a trip-specific training program is suggested to enhance the compensatory stepping response and decrease falls in individuals with stroke.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Relationship between Motor Generalization and Motor Transfer

Description

Adapting to one novel condition of a motor task has been shown to generalize to other naïve conditions (i.e., motor generalization). In contrast, learning one task affects the proficiency of

Adapting to one novel condition of a motor task has been shown to generalize to other naïve conditions (i.e., motor generalization). In contrast, learning one task affects the proficiency of another task that is altogether different (i.e. motor transfer). Much more is known about motor generalization than about motor transfer, despite of decades of behavioral evidence. Moreover, motor generalization is studied as a probe to understanding how movements in any novel situations are affected by previous experiences. Thus, one could assume that mechanisms underlying transfer from trained to untrained tasks may be same as the ones known to be underlying motor generalization. However, the direct relationship between transfer and generalization has not yet been shown, thereby limiting the assumption that transfer and generalization rely on the same mechanisms. The purpose of this study was to test whether there is a relationship between motor generalization and motor transfer. To date, ten healthy young adult subjects were scored on their motor generalization ability and motor transfer ability on various upper extremity tasks. Although our current sample size is too small to clearly identify whether there is a relationship between generalization and transfer, Pearson product-moment correlation results and a priori power analysis suggest that a significant relationship will be observed with an increased sample size by 30%. If so, this would suggest that the mechanisms of transfer may be similar to those of motor generalization.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018