(1/12618) Cerebellar Purkinje cell simple spike discharge encodes movement velocity in primates during visuomotor arm tracking.

Pathophysiological, lesion, and electrophysiological studies suggest that the cerebellar cortex is important for controlling the direction and speed of movement. The relationship of cerebellar Purkinje cell discharge to the control of arm movement parameters, however, remains unclear. The goal of this study was to examine how movement direction and speed and their interaction-velocity-modulate Purkinje cell simple spike discharge in an arm movement task in which direction and speed were independently controlled. The simple spike discharge of 154 Purkinje cells was recorded in two monkeys during the performance of two visuomotor tasks that required the animals to track targets that moved in one of eight directions and at one of four speeds. Single-parameter regression analyses revealed that a large proportion of cells had discharge modulation related to movement direction and speed. Most cells with significant directional tuning, however, were modulated at one speed, and most cells with speed-related discharge were modulated along one direction; this suggested that the patterns of simple spike discharge were not adequately described by single-parameter models. Therefore, a regression surface was fitted to the data, which showed that the discharge could be tuned to specific direction-speed combinations (preferred velocities). The overall variability in simple spike discharge was well described by the surface model, and the velocities corresponding to maximal and minimal discharge rates were distributed uniformly throughout the workspace. Simple spike discharge therefore appears to integrate information about both the direction and speed of arm movements, thereby encoding movement velocity.  (+info)

(2/12618) Flow-mediated vasodilation and distensibility of the brachial artery in renal allograft recipients.

BACKGROUND: Alterations of large artery function and structure are frequently observed in renal allograft recipients. However, endothelial function has not yet been assessed in this population. METHODS: Flow-mediated vasodilation is a useful index of endothelial function. We measured the diameter and distensibility of the brachial artery at rest using high-resolution ultrasound and Doppler frequency analysis of vessel wall movements in the M mode. Thereafter, changes in brachial artery diameter were measured during reactive hyperemia (after 4 min of forearm occlusion) in 16 cyclosporine-treated renal allograft recipients and 16 normal controls of similar age and sex ratio. Nitroglycerin-mediated vasodilation was measured to assess endothelium-independent vasodilation. Brachial artery blood pressure was measured using an automatic sphygmomanometer, and brachial artery flow was estimated using pulsed Doppler. RESULTS: Distensibility was reduced in renal allograft recipients (5.31 +/- 0. 74 vs. 9.10 +/- 0.94 x 10-3/kPa, P = 0.003, mean +/- sem), while the brachial artery diameter at rest was higher (4.13 +/- 0.14 vs. 3.25 +/- 0.14 mm, P < 0.001). Flow-mediated vasodilation was significantly reduced in renal allograft recipients (0.13 +/- 0.08 vs. 0.60 +/- 0.08 mm or 3 +/- 2 vs. 19 +/- 3%, both P < 0.001). However, nitroglycerin-mediated vasodilation was similar in renal allograft recipients and controls (0.76 +/- 0.10 vs. 0.77 +/- 0.09 mm, NS, or 19 +/- 3 vs. 22 +/- 2%, NS). There were no significant differences in brachial artery flow at rest and during reactive hyperemia between both groups. The impairments of flow-mediated vasodilation and distensibility in renal allograft recipients remained significant after correction for serum cholesterol, creatinine, parathyroid hormone concentrations, end-diastolic diameter, as well as blood pressure levels, and were also present in eight renal allograft recipients not treated with cyclosporine. Flow-mediated vasodilation was not related to distensibility in either group. CONCLUSIONS: The results show impaired endothelial function and reduced brachial artery distensibility in renal allograft recipients. The impairments of flow-mediated vasodilation and distensibility are not attributable to a diminished brachial artery vasodilator capacity, because endothelium-independent vasodilation was preserved in renal allograft recipients.  (+info)

(3/12618) 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)

(4/12618) Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of lipid translocation in biological membranes.

A theoretical analysis of the lipid translocation in cellular bilayer membranes is presented. We focus on an integrative model of active and passive transport processes determining the asymmetrical distribution of the major lipid components between the monolayers. The active translocation of the aminophospholipids phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine is mathematically described by kinetic equations resulting from a realistic ATP-dependent transport mechanism. Concerning the passive transport of the aminophospholipids as well as of phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, and cholesterol, two different approaches are used. The first treatment makes use of thermodynamic flux-force relationships. Relevant forces are transversal concentration differences of the lipids as well as differences in the mechanical states of the monolayers due to lateral compressions. Both forces, originating primarily from the operation of an aminophospholipid translocase, are expressed as functions of the lipid compositions of the two monolayers. In the case of mechanical forces, lipid-specific parameters such as different molecular surface areas and compression force constants are taken into account. Using invariance principles, it is shown how the phenomenological coefficients depend on the total lipid amounts. In a second approach, passive transport is analyzed in terms of kinetic mechanisms of carrier-mediated translocation, where mechanical effects are incorporated into the translocation rate constants. The thermodynamic as well as the kinetic approach are applied to simulate the time-dependent redistribution of the lipid components in human red blood cells. In the thermodynamic model the steady-state asymmetrical lipid distribution of erythrocyte membranes is simulated well under certain parameter restrictions: 1) the time scales of uncoupled passive transbilayer movement must be different among the lipid species; 2) positive cross-couplings of the passive lipid fluxes are needed, which, however, may be chosen lipid-unspecifically. A comparison of the thermodynamic and the kinetic approaches reveals that antiport mechanisms for passive lipid movements may be excluded. Simulations with kinetic symport mechanisms are in qualitative agreement with experimental data but show discrepancies in the asymmetrical distribution for sphingomyelin.  (+info)

(5/12618) A pilot study on the human body vibration induced by low frequency noise.

To understand the basic characteristics of the human body vibration induced by low frequency noise and to use it to evaluate the effects on health, we designed a measuring method with a miniature accelerometer and carried out preliminary measurements. Vibration was measured on the chest and abdomen of 6 male subjects who were exposed to pure tones in the frequency range of 20 to 50 Hz, where the method we designed was proved to be sensitive enough to detect vibration on the body surface. The level and rate of increase with frequency of the vibration turned out to be higher on the chest than on the abdomen. This difference was considered to be due to the mechanical structure of the human body. It also turned out that the measured noise-induced vibration negatively correlated with the subject's BMI (Body Mass Index), which suggested that the health effects of low frequency noise depended not only on the mechanical structure but also on the physical constitution of the human body.  (+info)

(6/12618) Morphology and mechanics of tongue movement in the African pig-nosed frog Hemisus marmoratum: a muscular hydrostatic model.

The goal of this study was to investigate morphological adaptations associated with hydrostatic elongation of the tongue during feeding in the African pig-nosed frog Hemisus marmoratum. Whereas previous studies had suggested that the tongue of H. marmoratum elongates hydraulically, the anatomical observations reported here favour a muscular hydrostatic mechanism of tongue elongation. H. marmoratum possesses a previously undescribed compartment of the m. genioglossus (m. genioglossus dorsoventralis), which is intrinsic to the tongue and whose muscle fibres are oriented perpendicular to the long axis of the tongue. On the basis of the arrangement and orientation of muscle fibres in the m. genioglossus and m. hyoglossus, we propose a muscular hydrostatic model of tongue movement in which contraction of the m. genioglossus dorsoventralis, together with unfolding of the intrinsic musculature of the tongue, results in a doubling in tongue length. Electron micrographs of sarcomeres from resting and elongated tongues show that no special adaptations of the sarcomeres are necessary to accommodate the observed doubling in tongue length during feeding. Rather, the sarcomeres of the m. genioglossus longitudinalis are strikingly similar to those of anuran limb muscles. The ability to elongate the tongue hydrostatically, conferred by the presence of the m. genioglossus dorsoventralis, is associated with the appearance of several novel aspects of feeding behaviour in H. marmoratum. These include the ability to protract the tongue slowly, thereby increasing capture success, and the ability to aim the tongue in azimuth and elevation relative to the head. Compared with other frogs, the muscular hydrostatic system of H. marmoratum allows more precise, localized and diverse tongue movements. This may explain why the m. genioglossus of H. marmoratum is composed of a larger number of motor units than that of other frogs.  (+info)

(7/12618) The role of ventral medial wall motor areas in bimanual co-ordination. A combined lesion and activation study.

Two patients with midline tumours and disturbances of bimanual co-ordination as the presenting symptoms were examined. Both reported difficulties whenever the two hands had to act together simultaneously, whereas they had no problems with unimanual dexterity or the use of both hands sequentially. In the first patient the lesion was confined to the cingulate gyrus; in the second it also invaded the corpus callosum and the supplementary motor area. Kinematic analysis of bimanual in-phase and anti-phase movements revealed an impairment of both the temporal adjustment between the hands and the independence of movements between the two hands. A functional imaging study in six volunteers, who performed the same bimanual in-phase and anti-phase tasks, showed strong activations of midline areas including the cingulate and ventral supplementary motor area. The prominent activation of the ventral medial wall motor areas in the volunteers in conjunction with the bimanual co-ordination disorder in the two patients with lesions compromising their function is evidence for their pivotal role in bimanual co-ordination.  (+info)

(8/12618) Experimental assessment of proximal stent-graft (InterVascular) fixation in human cadaveric infrarenal aortas.

OBJECTIVES: This paper investigates the radial deformation load of an aortic endoluminal prosthesis and determines the longitudinal load required to cause migration in a human cadaveric aorta of the endoprosthesis. DESIGN AND METHODS: The endovascular prosthesis under investigation was a 24 mm diameter, nitinol, self-expanding aortoaortic device (InterVascular, Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A.). Initially, a motorised digital force gauge developed an incremental load which was applied to the ends of five stent-grafts, to a maximum of 10 mm (42%) compression. Secondly, using a simple bench model, each ends of four stent-grafts were deployed into 10 cadaveric experimental aneurysm necks and a longitudinal load applied to effect distraction. RESULTS: Increasing load produced increasing percentage deformation of the stent-grafts. The mean longitudinal distraction load for an aneurysm neck of 20 mm was 409 g (200-480 g), for 15 mm was 277 g (130-410 g) and for 10 mm was 218 g (130-340 g). The aneurysm diameter and aortic calcification had p values of 0.002 and 0.047, respectively, while the p value for aneurysm neck length was less than 0.00001. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that there is a theoretical advantage of oversizing an aortic prosthesis and that sufficient anchorage is achieved in an aortic neck of 10 mm to prevent migration when fully deployed.  (+info)