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1.  Alteration of synergistic muscle activity following neuromuscular electrical stimulation of one muscle 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(5):640-646.
The aim of the study was to determine muscle activation of the m. triceps surae during maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) following neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) of the m. gastrocnemius lateralis (GL). The participants (n = 10) performed three MVC during pretest, posttest, and recovery, respectively. Subsequent to the pretest, the GL was stimulated by NMES. During MVC, force and surface electromyography (EMG) of the GL, m. gastrocnemius medialis (GM), and m. soleus (SOL) were measured. NMES of GL induced no significant decline (3%) in force. EMG activity of the GL decreased significantly to 81% (P < 0.05), whereas EMG activity of the synergistic SOL increased to 112% (P < 0.01). The GM (103%, P = 1.00) remained unaltered. Decreased EMG activity in the GL was most likely caused by failure of the electrical propagation at its muscle fiber membrane. The decline of EMG activity in GL was compensated by increased EMG activity of SOL during MVC. It is suggested that these compensatory effects are caused by central contributions induced by NMES.
PMCID: PMC3489816  PMID: 23139909
Neuromuscular control; NMES; synergistic muscles; triceps surae
2.  Compliant leg behaviour explains basic dynamics of walking and running 
The basic mechanics of human locomotion are associated with vaulting over stiff legs in walking and rebounding on compliant legs in running. However, while rebounding legs well explain the stance dynamics of running, stiff legs cannot reproduce that of walking. With a simple bipedal spring–mass model, we show that not stiff but compliant legs are essential to obtain the basic walking mechanics; incorporating the double support as an essential part of the walking motion, the model reproduces the characteristic stance dynamics that result in the observed small vertical oscillation of the body and the observed out-of-phase changes in forward kinetic and gravitational potential energies. Exploring the parameter space of this model, we further show that it not only combines the basic dynamics of walking and running in one mechanical system, but also reveals these gaits to be just two out of the many solutions to legged locomotion offered by compliant leg behaviour and accessed by energy or speed.
PMCID: PMC1664632  PMID: 17015312
biomechanics; human gait; spring–mass model
3.  Three-dimensional relation of skin markers to lumbar vertebrae of healthy subjects in different postures measured by open MRI 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(6):742-751.
The debate is to which extent external skin markers represent true underlying vertebral position and motion. Skin markers and lumbar vertebrae L3 and L4 were examined by vertically open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) within different postures to investigate whether, and to which extent the position and orientation of skin markers represent the corresponding information of assigned underlying vertebra. Nine healthy volunteers sat within an open MRI scanner in five different seating postures: upright, low flexion, heavy flexion, upright left turn and upright right turn. Skin markers were fixed at lumbar levels L3 and L4. A set of landmarks defines corresponding positions on the vertebrae. Translation-vectors quantify the change of co-ordinates while changing position. Orientation (Cardan-angles) of each level in space was calculated from co-ordinates of three skin-markers and the corresponding vertebral landmarks respectively. The close relation between the position of the individual skin marker and its corresponding landmark on the vertebrae is conserved through all postures (regression coefficients: 0.720
PMCID: PMC3489463  PMID: 16047207
Open MRI; Lumbar spine; Skin markers; Soft tissue; Validation
During bouncing gaits (running, hopping, trotting), passive compliant structures (e.g. tendons, ligaments) store and release part of the stride energy. Here, active muscles must provide the required force to withstand the developing tendon strain and to compensate for the inevitable energy losses. This requires an appropriate control of muscle activation. In this study, for hopping, the potential involvement of afferent information from muscle receptors (muscle spindles, Golgi tendon organs) is investigated using a two-segment leg model with one extensor muscle. It is found that: (i) positive feedbacks of muscle-fibre length and muscle force can result in periodic bouncing; (ii) positive force feedback (F+) stabilizes bouncing patterns within a large range of stride energies (maximum hopping height of 16.3 cm, almost twofold higher than the length feedback); and (iii) when employing this reflex scheme, for moderate hopping heights (up to 8.8 cm), an overall elastic leg behaviour is predicted (hopping frequency of 1.4-3 Hz, leg stiffness of 9-27 kN m(-1)). Furthermore, F+ could stabilize running. It is suggested that, during the stance phase of bouncing tasks, the reflex-generated motor control based on feedbacks might be an efficient and reliable alternative to central motor commands.
PMCID: PMC1691493  PMID: 14561282

Results 1-4 (4)