(1/3966) Phase reversal of biomechanical functions and muscle activity in backward pedaling.

Computer simulations of pedaling have shown that a wide range of pedaling tasks can be performed if each limb has the capability of executing six biomechanical functions, which are arranged into three pairs of alternating antagonistic functions. An Ext/Flex pair accelerates the limb into extension or flexion, a Plant/Dorsi pair accelerates the foot into plantarflexion or dorsiflexion, and an Ant/Post pair accelerates the foot anteriorly or posteriorly relative to the pelvis. Because each biomechanical function (i.e., Ext, Flex, Plant, Dorsi, Ant, or Post) contributes to crank propulsion during a specific region in the cycle, phasing of a muscle is hypothesized to be a consequence of its ability to contribute to one or more of the biomechanical functions. Analysis of electromyogram (EMG) patterns has shown that this biomechanical framework assists in the interpretation of muscle activity in healthy and hemiparetic subjects during forward pedaling. Simulations show that backward pedaling can be produced with a phase shift of 180 degrees in the Ant/Post pair. No phase shifts in the Ext/Flex and Plant/Dorsi pairs are then necessary. To further test whether this simple yet biomechanically viable strategy may be used by the nervous system, EMGs from 7 muscles in 16 subjects were measured during backward as well as forward pedaling. As predicted, phasing in vastus medialis (VM), tibialis anterior (TA), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and soleus (SL) were unaffected by pedaling direction, with VM and SL contributing to Ext, MG to Plant, and TA to Dorsi. In contrast, phasing in biceps femoris (BF) and semimembranosus (SM) were affected by pedaling direction, as predicted, compatible with their contribution to the directionally sensitive Post function. Phasing of rectus femoris (RF) was also affected by pedaling direction; however, its ability to contribute to the directionally sensitive Ant function may only be expressed in forward pedaling. RF also contributed significantly to the directionally insensitive Ext function in both forward and backward pedaling. Other muscles also appear to have contributed to more than one function, which was especially evident in backward pedaling (i.e. , BF, SM, MG, and TA to Flex). We conclude that the phasing of only the Ant and Post biomechanical functions are directionally sensitive. Further, we suggest that task-dependent modulation of the expression of the functions in the motor output provides this biomechanics-based neural control scheme with the capability to execute a variety of lower limb tasks, including walking.  (+info)

(2/3966) Varying the degree of single-whisker stimulation differentially affects phases of intrinsic signals in rat barrel cortex.

Using intrinsic signal optical imaging (ISI), we have shown previously that the point spread of evoked activity in the rat barrel cortex in response to single-whisker stimulation encompasses a surprisingly large area. Given that our typical stimulation consists of five deflections at 5 Hz, the large area of evoked activity might have resulted from repetitive stimulation. Thus in the present study, we use ISI through the thinned skull to determine whether decreasing the degree of single-whisker stimulation decreases the area of the cortical point spread. We additionally outline a protocol to quantify stimulus-related differences in the temporal characteristics of intrinsic signals at a fine spatial scale. In 10 adult rats, whisker C2 was stimulated randomly with either one or five deflections delivered in a rostral-to-caudal fashion. Each deflection consisted of a 0.5-mm displacement of the whisker as measured at the point of contact, 15 mm from the snout. The number of whisker deflections did not affect the area or peak magnitude of the cortical point spread based on the intrinsic signal activity occurring from 0.5 up to 1.5 s poststimulus onset. In contrast, the magnitude and time course of intrinsic signal activity collected after 1.5-s poststimulus onset did reflect the difference in the degree of stimulation. Thus decreasing the degree of stimulation differentially affected the early and late phases of the evoked intrinsic signal response. The implications of the present results are discussed in respect to probable differences in the signal source underlying the early versus later phases of evoked intrinsic signals.  (+info)

(3/3966) A new filtering algorithm for medical magnetic resonance and computer tomography images.

Inner views of tubular structures based on computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) data sets may be created by virtual endoscopy. After a preliminary segmentation procedure for selecting the organ to be represented, the virtual endoscopy is a new postprocessing technique using surface or volume rendering of the data sets. In the case of surface rendering, the segmentation is based on a grey level thresholding technique. To avoid artifacts owing to the noise created in the imaging process, and to restore spurious resolution degradations, a robust Wiener filter was applied. This filter working in Fourier space approximates the noise spectrum by a simple function that is proportional to the square root of the signal amplitude. Thus, only points with tiny amplitudes consisting mostly of noise are suppressed. Further artifacts are avoided by the correct selection of the threshold range. Afterwards, the lumen and the inner walls of the tubular structures are well represented and allow one to distinguish between harmless fluctuations and medically significant structures.  (+info)

(4/3966) Image processing strategies in picture archiving and communication systems.

An image processing strategy is presented that assures very similar soft-copy presentation on diagnostic workstations of a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) over the lifetime of an image file and simultaneously provides efficient work-flow. The strategy is based on rigid partitioning of image processing into application- and display-device-specific processing. Application-specific processing is optimized for a reference display system. A description of this system is attached to the file header of the application-specifically processed image which is stored in the PACS. Every diagnostic display system automatically reproduces the image quality for which the application-specific processing was optimized by adjusting its properties by display-system-specific processing so that the system becomes effectively equal to the reference display system.  (+info)

(5/3966) A new tool for measuring the suckling stimulus during breastfeeding in humans: the orokinetogram and the Fourier series.

The Fourier series was used to analyse the oral movements recorded by the orokinetogram during breastfeeding in human babies. This is a new method that allows recording of oral movements without introducing any extrinsic element between the nipple and the mouth of the baby. The advantage of displaying suckling activity after fast Fourier transform (FFT) is that this algorithm allows storage, quantification and frequency analysis of the oral movements throughout a suckling bout, which enables the total oral activity to be measured. Two types of oral movements are found: slow high amplitude (SHA) and fast low amplitude (FLA). FLA movements may be derived from peristaltic movements of the tongue that result in tickling stimuli to the mechanoreceptors of the nipple and milk expression. The frequency bandwidth of oral movements is wider (0-8 Hz) than has been described previously (0-3 Hz) and this is due to the presence of the FLA oral movements. An indirect measurement of the energy of oral movements during suckling is obtained by the pattern of energy distribution used in each individual frequency band by oral movements. This pattern changes in relation to the periods of continuous and intermittent suckling activity. SHA and FLA oral movements are more intense during continuous suckling. Statistical analysis showed a correlation between the energy of SHA and FLA waves throughout the suckling bout, and also that the highest level of energy during suckling activity is displayed during the first 2 min. The novel tools described in this paper allow investigation of the role of suckling stimulus in reflex hormone release and other mother-infant interactions.  (+info)

(6/3966) Ryanodine and the left ventricular force-interval and relaxation-interval relations in closed-chest dogs: insights on calcium handling.

OBJECTIVE: Although the myocardial force-interval and relaxation-interval relations are considered to be mechanical expressions of myocardial Ca2+ handling, correlation of these phenomena with altered Ca2+ kinetics in the intact state is limited. Thus, I sought to determine the impact of selective impairment of physiologic sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release, achieved by the use of the drug ryanodine, on these relations in the intact animal. METHODS: Twelve dogs instrumented with left ventricular manometers and piezoelectric dimension crystals were studied before and after ryanodine (4 micrograms/kg intravenously). End-systolic elastance was measured at paced heart rates of 120-180 bpm to determine the force-frequency response. Mechanical restitution and relaxation restitution were determined by measuring contractile (single beat elastance) and relaxation (peak negative dP/dt) responses for beats delivered at graded extrasystolic intervals, with normalized responses expressed as a function of extrasystolic interval. RESULTS: Ryanodine accelerated mechanical restitution (time constant 60.3 +/- 3.9 versus 81.7 +/- 10.1 ms, p < 0.05) and reduced maximal contractile response (107.5 +/- 2.1 versus 122.1 +/- 5.7%, p < 0.05), slowed early relaxation restitution (time constant 65.5 +/- 13.8 versus 36.8 +/- 3.8 ms, p < 0.05) without changing late relaxation restitution kinetics, and amplified the force-frequency response (end-systolic elastance, 180 bpm, 19.4 +/- 4.3 versus 11.4 +/- 1.2 mm Hg/ml, p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that in the intact animal, Ca2+ handling by the sarcoplasmic reticulum is a primary determinant of mechanical restitution and early relaxation restitution, but not late relaxation restitution. Conversely, ryanodine induced augmentation of the force-frequency response indicates a central role for sarcolemmal Ca2+ influx in producing frequency potentiation.  (+info)

(7/3966) Delayed rectifier potassium current in undiseased human ventricular myocytes.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to investigate the properties of the delayed rectifier potassium current (IK) in myocytes isolated from undiseased human left ventricles. METHODS: The whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique was applied in 28 left ventricular myocytes from 13 hearts at 35 degrees C. RESULTS: An E-4031 sensitive tail current identified the rapid component of IK (IKr) in the myocytes, but there was no evidence for an E-4031 insensitive slow component of IK (IKs). When nifedipine (5 microM) was used to block the inward calcium current (ICa), IKr activation was fast (tau = 31.0 +/- 7.4 ms, at +30 mV, n = 5) and deactivation kinetics were biexponential and relatively slow (tau 1 = 600.0 +/- 53.9 ms and tau 2 = 6792.2 +/- 875.7 ms, at -40 mV, n = 7). Application of CdCl2 (250 microM) to block ICa altered the voltage dependence of the IKr considerably, slowing its activation (tau = 657.1 +/- 109.1 ms, at +30 mV, n = 5) and accelerating its deactivation (tau = 104.0 +/- 18.5 ms, at -40 mV, n = 8). CONCLUSIONS: In undiseased human ventricle at 35 degrees C IKr exists having fast activation and slow deactivation kinetics; however, there was no evidence found for an expressed IKs. IKr probably plays an important role in the frequency dependent modulation of repolarization in undiseased human ventricle, and is a target for many Class III antiarrhythmic drugs.  (+info)

(8/3966) Neurocardiac and cerebral responses evoked by esophageal vago-afferent stimulation in humans: effect of varying intensities.

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to determine whether esophageal vago-afferent electrostimulation, over a wide range of stimulus intensities, can sustain a cardiac vago-efferent effect by way of central nervous system processing. METHODS: Studies were performed in ten healthy male subjects (23.9 +/- 6.3 years). Esophageal electrostimulation was carried out using a stimulating electrode placed in the distal esophagus. Stimulation of esophageal vago-afferent fibres was employed using electrical impulses (200 microseconds at 0.2 Hz x 128 s) varying from 2.7 to 20 mA. Respiratory frequencies, beat-to-beat heart rate autospectra and cerebral evoked potentials were recorded at baseline and at each stimulus intensity in random order. RESULTS: With esophageal electrical stimulation, we observed a small non-significant decrease in heart rate. There was a dramatic shift of the instantaneous heart rate power spectra towards enhanced cardiac vagal modulation with intensities as low as 5 mA. This effect was sustained throughout all intensities with no further change in either the low frequency or high frequency power. Conversely, there was a linear dose response relationship between cerebral evoked potential amplitude and stimulus intensity mainly occurring above perception threshold (10 mA). Esophageal stimulation had no significant effect on heart rate or respiratory frequency at any stimulus intensity. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that electrical stimulation of the distal esophagus across a wide range of current intensities elicits a reproducible shift in the heart rate power spectrum towards enhanced vagal modulation. The data suggest a closed loop afferent/efferent circuitry wherein tonic visceral afferent impulses appear to elicit a phasic or modulatory vago-efferent cardiac response in healthy subjects.  (+info)