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Georgia Institute of Technology
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2008-2009 Program

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Extracting Impaired Modulation of Muscle Activation Pattern in Neurological Patients Using "Pinpointed Muscle Control" Robot

Healthy individuals modulate muscle activation patterns according to intended movement. Neurological patients with movement disorders, however, have problems in movement control due primarily to their inability to modulate their muscle activation pattern in an appropriate manner. To date, there is no scientific method to quantitatively characterize this inability in patients. The purpose of the proposed study will be 1) to invent a unique "pinpointed muscle control" robot for human arm movement and 2) to develop a method, with this novel robot, for quantitatively characterizing the individualís ability/difficulty in modulating muscle activation pattern for healthy adults and patients with movement disorders. A novel control scheme of a manipulandum robot will be to adjust the load of a selected human muscle by applying forces/torques via multiple end-effectors, thus enabling "pinpointed" muscle force grading at the level of individual muscles. This muscle-level force prediction/control will be performed using a human musculoskeletal dynamic model. Muscle activation patterns created as a result of interfacing with this manipulandum robot will be analyzed in various conditions for extracting unique activation characteristics in healthy adults and neurological patients. The deviations in muscle activation patterns in patients from those in healthy adults would be used for determining the degree of impairment in movement disorders. The project is expected to characterize the modulations of muscle activation patterns with a novel manipulandum robot that would become a basis for future diagnosis of and, possibly, early detection of movement disorders.

Investigators: Jun Ueda (GT, Mechanical Engineering), Minoru Shinohara (GT, Applied Physiology), Vijaya Krishnamoorthy (Emory University, Rehabilitation Medicine)

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