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1.  Effects of age-related differences in femoral loading and bone mineral density on strains in the proximal femur during controlled walking 
Journal of applied biomechanics  2012;29(5):505-516.
Maintenance of healthy bone mineral density (BMD) is important for preventing fractures in older adults. Strains experienced by bone in vivo stimulate remodeling processes which can increase or decrease BMD. However, there has been little study of age differences in bone strains. This study examined the relative contributions of age-related differences in femoral loading and BMD to age-related differences in femoral strains during walking using gait analysis, static optimization, and finite element modeling. Strains in older adult models were similar or larger than in young adult models. Reduced BMD increased strains in a fairly uniform manner, while older adult loading increased strains in early stance but decreased strains in late stance. Peak ground reaction forces, hip joint contact forces, and hip flexor forces were lower in older adults in late stance phase, and this helped older adults maintain similar strains as young adults despite lower BMD. Because walking likely represents a “baseline” level of stimulus for bone remodeling processes, increased strains during walking in older adults might indicate the extent of age-related impairment in bone remodeling processes. Such a measure might be clinically useful if it could be accurately determined with age-appropriate patient-specific loading, geometry, and BMD.
PMCID: PMC3796161  PMID: 23185080
gait analysis; modeling; bone; kinetics; optimization
2.  Temporal Changes in the Required Shoe-Floor Friction when Walking following an Induced Slip 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96525.
Biomechanical aspects of slips and falls have been widely studied to facilitate fall prevention strategies. Prior studies have shown changes in gait after an induced slipping event. As such, most researchers only slip participants one time to avoid such changes that would otherwise reduce the external validity of experimental results. The ability to slip participants more than once, after allowing gait to return to a natural baseline, would improve the experimental efficiency of such studies. Therefore, the goal of this study was to characterize the temporal changes in required shoe-floor friction when walking following an induced slip. Two experiments were completed, and each employed a different potential strategy to promote the return of gait to a natural baseline after slipping. In the first experiment, extended time away from the laboratory was used to promote the return of gait to baseline. We measured required coefficient-of-friction among 36 young adult male participants over four sessions. The first three sessions provided measurements during baseline (i.e., natural gait) both prior to slipping and immediately after slipping. The fourth session provided a measurement 1–12 weeks after slipping. In the second experiment, an extensive number of walking trials was used to promote the return of gait to baseline. We measured required coefficient-of-friction among 10 young adult male participants in a single session. Measurements were collected during 10 baseline walking trials, immediately after slipping, and during 50–55 additional trials. In both experiments, required coefficient-of-friction decreased 12–16% immediately after a single slip, increased toward baseline levels over subsequent weeks/walking trials, but remained statistically different from baseline at the end of the experiments. Based on these results, experiments involving slipping participants multiple times may not have a high level of external validity, and researchers are encouraged to continue to limit experimental protocols to a single induced slip per participant.
PMCID: PMC4008576  PMID: 24789299
3.  The effects of strength and power training on single-step balance recovery in older adults: a preliminary study 
Improving muscle strength and power may mitigate the effects of sarcopenia, but it is unknown if this improves an older adult’s ability to recover from a large postural perturbation. Forward tripping is prevalent in older adults and lateral falls are important due to risk of hip fracture. We used a forward and a lateral single-step balance recovery task to examine the effects of strength training (ST) or power (PT) training on single-step balance recovery in older adults. Twenty older adults (70.8±4.4 years, eleven male) were randomly assigned to either a 6-week (three times/week) lower extremity ST or PT intervention. Maximum forward (FLeanmax) and lateral (LLeanmax) lean angle and strength and power in knee extension and leg press were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Fifteen participants completed the study (ST =7, PT =8). Least squares means (95% CI) for ΔFLeanmax (ST: +4.1° [0.7, 7.5]; PT: +0.6° [−2.5, 3.8]) and ΔLLeanmax (ST: +2.2° [0.4, 4.1]; PT: +2.6° [0.9, 4.4]) indicated no differences between groups following training. In exploratory post hoc analyses collapsed by group, ΔFLeanmax was +2.4° (0.1, 4.7) and ΔLLeanmax was +2.4° (1.2, 3.6). These improvements on the balance recovery tasks ranged from ~15%–30%. The results of this preliminary study suggest that resistance training may improve balance recovery performance, and that, in this small sample, PT did not lead to larger improvements in single-step balance recovery compared to ST.
PMCID: PMC4000185  PMID: 24790422
resistance exercise; falls; muscle strength; muscle power; exercise intervention; randomized trial
4.  A new method for gravity correction of dynamometer data and determining passive elastic moments at the joint 
Journal of biomechanics  2010;43(6):1220-1223.
Moments measured by a dynamometer in biomechanics testing often include the gravitational moment and the passive elastic moment in addition to the moment caused by muscle contraction. Gravitational moments result from the weight of body segments and dynamometer attachment, whereas passive elastic moments are caused by the passive elastic deformation of tissues crossing the joint being assessed. Gravitational moments are a major potential source of error in dynamometer measurements and must be corrected for, a procedure often called gravity correction. While several approaches to gravity correction have been presented in the literature, they generally assume that the gravitational moment can be adequately modeled as a simple sine or cosine function. With this approach, a single passive data point may be used to specify the model, assuming that passive elastic moments are negligible at that point. A new method is presented here for the gravity correction of dynamometer data. Gravitational moment is represented using a generalized sinusoid, which is fit to passive data obtained over the entire joint range of motion. The model also explicitly accounts for the presence of passive elastic moments. The model was tested for cases of hip flexion-extension, knee flexion-extension, and ankle plantar flexion-dorsiflexion, and provided good fits in all cases.
PMCID: PMC2849864  PMID: 20047749
isokinetic dynamometer; joint moment; gravity correction; gravitational moment; passive elastic moment
5.  Effects of Exercise Induced Low Back Pain on Intrinsic Trunk Stiffness and Paraspinal Muscle Reflexes 
Journal of biomechanics  2012;46(4):801-805.
The purpose of this study was to 1) compare trunk neuromuscular behavior between individuals with no history of low back pain (LBP) and individuals who experience exercise-induced LBP (eiLBP) when pain free, and 2) investigate changes in trunk neuromuscular behavior with eiLBP. Seventeen young adult males participated including eight reporting recurrent, acute eiLBP and nine control participants reporting no history of LBP. Intrinsic trunk stiffness and paraspinal muscle reflex delay were determined in both groups using sudden trunk flexion position perturbations 1-2 days following exercise when the eiLBP participants were experiencing an episode of LBP (termed post-exercise) and 4-5 days following exercise when eiLBP had subsided (termed post-recovery). Post-recovery, when the eiLBP group was experiencing minimal LBP, trunk stiffness was 26% higher in the eiLBP group compared to the control group (p=0.033) and reflex delay was not different (p=0.969) between groups. Trunk stiffness did not change (p=0.826) within the eiLBP group from post-exercise to post-recovery, but decreased 22% within the control group (p=0.002). Reflex delay decreased 11% within the eiLBP group from post-exercise to post-recovery (p=0.013), and increased 15% within the control group (p=0.006). Although the neuromuscular mechanisms associated with eiLBP and chronic LBP may differ, these results suggest that previously-reported differences in trunk neuromuscular behavior between individuals with chronic LBP and healthy controls reflect a combination of inherent differences in neuromuscular behavior between these individuals as well as changes in neuromuscular behavior elicited by pain.
PMCID: PMC3568223  PMID: 23182221
low back pain; exercise; trunk stiffness; reflex
6.  Changes in body segment inertial parameters of obese individuals with weight loss 
Journal of biomechanics  2008;41(15):3278-3281.
Forward dynamic simulation of human movement has the potential to investigate the biomechanical effects of weight loss in obese individuals. However, guidelines for altering body segment inertial parameters (BSIPs) of a biomechanical model to approximate changes that occur with weight loss are currently unavailable. Therefore, the goal of this study was to quantify three-dimensional changes in BSIPs with weight loss. Nineteen Caucasian men of age 43.6 ± 7.5 years (mean ± standard deviation) were evaluated. Body mass and body mass index prior to weight loss were 102.7 ± 3.6 kg and 32.6 ± 3.2 kg/m2, respectively. Both before and after weight loss, magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired along the length of the body to discriminate muscle, bone, organ, and adipose tissues. Segment masses, center of mass (COM) positions, and radii of gyration were determined from these scans using published tissue densities and established methods. A number of significant changes in BSIPs occurred with the 13.8 ± 2.4 % average weight loss. Mass decreased in all segments. COM position moved distally for the thigh and upper arm, superiorly for the trunk, and inferiorly for the whole body. Radius of gyration, in general, decreased in all segments. The changes in BSIPs with weight loss reported here could be used in forward dynamic simulations investigating the biomechanical implications of weight loss.
PMCID: PMC2628808  PMID: 18930231
obesity; segment inertial parameters; weight loss
7.  Load-Relaxation Properties of the Human Trunk in Response to Prolonged Flexion: Measuring and Modeling the Effect of Flexion Angle 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48625.
Experimental studies suggest that prolonged trunk flexion reduces passive support of the spine. To understand alterations of the synergy between active and passive tissues following such loadings, several studies have assessed the time-dependent behavior of passive tissues including those within spinal motion segments and muscles. Yet, there remain limitations regarding load-relaxation of the lumbar spine in response to flexion exposures and the influence of different flexion angles. Ten healthy participants were exposed for 16 min to each of five magnitudes of lumbar flexion specified relative to individual flexion-relaxation angles (i.e., 30, 40, 60, 80, and 100%), during which lumbar flexion angle and trunk moment were recorded. Outcome measures were initial trunk moment, moment drop, parameters of four viscoelastic models (i.e., Standard Linear Solid model, the Prony Series, Schapery's Theory, and the Modified Superposition Method), and changes in neutral zone and viscoelastic state following exposure. There were significant effects of flexion angle on initial moment, moment drop, changes in normalized neutral zone, and some parameters of the Standard Linear Solid model. Initial moment, moment drop, and changes in normalized neutral zone increased exponentially with flexion angle. Kelvin-solid models produced better predictions of temporal behaviors. Observed responses to trunk flexion suggest nonlinearity in viscoelastic properties, and which likely reflected viscoelastic behaviors of spinal (lumbar) motion segments. Flexion-induced changes in viscous properties and neutral zone imply an increase in internal loads and perhaps increased risk of low back disorders. Kelvin-solid models, especially the Prony Series model appeared to be more effective at modeling load-relaxation of the trunk.
PMCID: PMC3489838  PMID: 23144913
8.  Females Exhibit Shorter Paraspinal Reflex Latencies than Males in Response to Sudden Trunk Flexion Perturbations 
Females have a higher risk of experiencing low back pain or injury than males. One possible reason for this might be altered reflexes since longer paraspinal reflex latencies exist in injured patients versus healthy controls. Gender differences have been reported in paraspinal reflex latency, yet findings are inconsistent. The goal here was to investigate gender differences in paraspinal reflex latency, avoiding and accounting for potentially gender-confounding experimental factors.
Ten males and ten females underwent repeated trunk flexion perturbations. Paraspinal muscle activity and trunk kinematics were recorded to calculate reflex latency and maximum trunk flexion velocity. Two-way mixed model ANOVAs were used to determine the effects of gender on reflex latency and maximum trunk flexion velocity.
Reflex latency was 18.7% shorter in females than in males (P=0.02) when exposed to identical trunk perturbations, and did not vary by impulse (P=0.38). However, maximum trunk flexion velocity was 35.3% faster in females than males (P=0.01) when exposed to identical trunk perturbations, and increased with impulse (P<0.01). While controlling for differences in maximum trunk flexion velocity, reflex latency was 16.4% shorter in females than males (P=0.04).
The higher prevalence of low back pain and injury among females does not appear to result from slower paraspinal reflexes.
PMCID: PMC2878900  PMID: 20359800
Gender; Paraspinal; Reflex Latency; Spinal Stability Control; Trunk Perturbations; Kinematics; Low Back Pain; Low Back Injury; Female; Male

Results 1-8 (8)