Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Analysis of the Effectiveness of Sub-sensory Electrical Noise Stimulation During Visuomotor Adaptations in Different Visual Feedback Conditions
    Sub-sensory electrical noise stimulation has been shown to improve motor performance in tasks that mainly rely on proprioceptive feedback. During the execution of movements such as reaching, proprioceptive feedback combines dynamically with visual feedback. It is still unclear whether boosting proprioceptive information in tasks where proprioception mixes with vision can influence motor performance. To better understand this point, we tested the effect of electrical noise stimulation applied superficially to the muscle spindles during four different experiments consisting of isometric reaching tasks under different visual feedback conditions. The first experiment (n = 40) consisted of a reach-and-hold task where subjects had to hold a cursor on a target for 30 s and had visual feedback removed 10 s into the task. Subjects performed 30 repetitions of this task with different stimulation levels, including no stimulation. We observed that trials in which the stimulation was present displayed smaller movement variability. Moreover, we observed a positive correlation between the level of stimulation and task performance. The other three experiments consisted of three versions of an isometric visuomotor adaptation task where subjects were asked to reach to random targets in <1.5 s (otherwise incurring in negative feedback) while overcoming a 45° clockwise rotation in the mapping between the force exerted and the movement of the cursor. The three experiments differed in the visual feedback presented to the subjects, with one group (n = 20) performing the experiment with full visual feedback, one (n = 10) with visual feedback restricted only to the beginning of the trajectory, and one (n = 10) without visual feedback of the trajectory. All subjects performed their experiment twice, with and without stimulation. We did not observe substantial effects of the stimulation when visual feedback was present (either completely or partially). We observed a limited effect of the stimulation in the absence of visual feedback consisting in a significant smaller number of negative-feedback trials and a significant smaller movement time in the first block of the adaptation phase. Our results suggest that sub-sensory stimulation can be beneficial when proprioception is the main feedback modality but mostly ineffective in tasks where visual feedback is actively employed.
      161Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    Characterization of the Adaptation to Visuomotor Rotations in the Muscle Synergies Space
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-06-23) ;
    The adaptation to visuomotor rotations is one of the most studied paradigms of motor learning. Previous literature has presented evidence of a dependency between the process of adaptation to visuomotor rotations and the constrains dictated by the workspace of the biological actuators, the muscles, and their co-activation strategies, modeled using muscle synergies analysis. To better understand this relationship, we asked a sample of healthy individuals (N = 7) to perform two experiments aiming at characterizing the adaptation to visuomotor rotations in terms of rotations of the activation space of the muscle synergies during isometric reaching tasks. In both experiments, subjects were asked to adapt to visual rotations altering the position mapping between the force exerted on a fixed manipulandum and the movement of a cursor on a screen. In the first experiment subjects adapted to three different visuomotor rotation angles (30°, 40°, and 50° clockwise) applied to the whole experimental workspace. In the second experiment subjects adapted to a single visuomotor rotation angle (45° clockwise) applied to eight different sub-spaces of the whole workspace, while also performing movements in the rest of the unperturbed workspace. The results from the first experiment confirmed the hypothesis that visuomotor rotations induce rotations in the synergies activation workspace that are proportional to the visuomotor rotation angle. The results from the second experiment showed that rotations affecting limited sub-spaces of the whole workspace are adapted for by rotating only the synergies involved in the movement, with an angle proportional to the distance between the preferred angle of the synergy and the sub-space covered by the rotation. Moreover, we show that the activation of a synergy is only rotated when the sub-space covered by the visual perturbation is applied at the boundaries of the workspace of the synergy. We found these results to be consistent across subjects, synergies and sub-spaces. Moreover, we found a correlation between synergies and muscle rotations further confirming that the adaptation process can be well described, at the neuromuscular level, using the muscle synergies model. These results provide information on how visuomotor rotations can be used to induce a desired neuromuscular response.
      101Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    Robot-Driven Locomotor Perturbations Reveal Synergy- Mediated, Context-Dependent Feedforward and Feedback Mechanisms of Adaptation
    Humans respond to mechanical perturbations that affect their gait by changing their motor control strategy. Previous work indicates that adaptation during gait is context dependent, and perturbations altering long-term stability are compensated for even at the cost of higher energy expenditure. However, it is unclear if gait adaptation is driven by unilateral or bilateral mechanisms, and what the roles of feedback and feedforward control are in the generation of compensatory responses. Here, we used a robot-based adaptation paradigm to investigate if feedback/feedforward and unilateral/bilateral contributions to locomotor adaptation are also context dependent in healthy adults. A robot was used to induce two opposite unilateral mechanical perturbations affecting the step length over multiple gait cycles. Electromyographic signals were collected and analyzed to determine how muscle synergies change in response to perturbations. The results unraveled different unilateral modulation dynamics of the muscle-synergy activations during adaptation, characterized by the combination of a slow-progressive feedforward process and a fast-reactive feedback-driven process. The relative unilateral contributions of the two processes to motor-output adjustments, however, depended on which perturbation was delivered. Overall, these observations provide evidence that, in humans, both descending and afferent drives project onto the same spinal interneuronal networks that encode locomotor muscle synergies.
      97Scopus© Citations 14