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Evaluation of Feedforward and Feedback Contributions to Hand Stiffness and Variability in Multijoint Arm Control

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3 Author(s)
Xin He ; Sch. of Biomed. Eng., Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ., Shanghai, China ; Yu-Fan Du ; Ning Lan

The purpose of this study is to validate a neuromechanical model of the virtual arm (VA) by comparing emerging behaviors of the model to those of experimental observations. Hand stiffness of the VA model was obtained by either theoretical computation or simulated perturbations. Variability in hand position of the VA was generated by adding signal dependent noise (SDN) to the motoneuron pools of muscles. Reflex circuits of Ia, Ib and Renshaw cells were included to regulate the motoneuron pool outputs. Evaluation of hand stiffness and variability was conducted in simulations with and without afferent feedback under different patterns of muscle activations during postural maintenance. The simulated hand stiffness and variability ellipses captured the experimentally observed features in shape, magnitude and orientation. Steady state afferent feedback contributed significantly to the increase in hand stiffness by 35.75 ± 16.99% in area, 18.37 ± 7.80% and 16.15 ± 7.15% in major and minor axes; and to the reduction of hand variability by 49.41 ± 21.19% in area, 36.89 ± 12.78% and 18.87 ± 23.32% in major and minor axes. The VA model reproduced the neuromechanical behaviors that were consistent with experimental data, and it could be a useful tool for study of neural control of posture and movement, as well as for application to rehabilitation.

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Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 4 )