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Journal Article


Goodworth AD, Wu YH, Felmlee D, Dunklebarger E, Saavedra S. IEEE Trans. Neural Syst. Rehabil. Eng. 2016; 25(1): 22-30.


(Copyright © 2016, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers))






Populations with moderate-to-severe motor control impairments often exhibit degraded trunk control and/or lack the ability to sit unassisted. These populations need more research, yet their underdeveloped trunk control complicates identification of neural mechanisms behind their movements. The purpose of this study was to overcome this barrier by developing the first multi-articulated trunk support system to identify visual, vestibular, and proprioception contributions to posture in populations lacking independent sitting. The system provided external stability at a user-specific level on the trunk, so that body segments above the level of support required active posture control. The system included a tilting surface (controlled via servomotor) as a stimulus to investigate sensory contributions to postural responses. Frequency response and coherence functions between the surface tilt and trunk support were used to characterize system dynamics and indicated that surface tilts were accurately transmitted up to 5Hz. Feasibility of collecting kinematic data in participants lacking independent sitting was demonstrated in two populations: two typically developing infants, ~2-8 months, in a longitudinal study (8 sessions each) and four children with moderate-to-severe cerebral palsy (GMFCS III-V). Adaptability in the system was assessed by testing 16 adults (ages 18-63). Kinematic responses to continuous pseudorandom surface tilts were evaluated across 0.046-2Hz and qualitative feedback indicated that the trunk support and stimulus were comfortable for all subjects. Concepts underlying the system enable both research for, and rehabilitation in, populations lacking independent sitting.

Language: en


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