Mechanical Engineering - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 387
Coexistence of Reward and Unsupervised Learning During the Operant Conditioning of Neural Firing Rates
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-01-27)
A fundamental goal of neuroscience is to understand how cognitive processes, such as operant conditioning, are performed by the brain. Typical and well studied examples of operant conditioning, in which the firing rates of individual cortical neurons in monkeys are increased using rewards, provide an opportunity for insight into this. Studies of reward-modulated spike-timing-dependent plasticity (RSTDP), and of other models such as R-max, have reproduced this learning behavior, but they have assumed that no unsupervised learning is present (i.e., no learning occurs without, or independent of, rewards). We show that these models cannot elicit firing rate reinforcement while exhibiting both reward learning and ongoing, stable unsupervised learning. To fix this issue, we propose a new RSTDP model of synaptic plasticity based upon the observed effects that dopamine has on long-term potentiation and depression (LTP and LTD). We show, both analytically and through simulations, that our new model can exhibit unsupervised learning and lead to firing rate reinforcement. This requires that the strengthening of LTP by the reward signal is greater than the strengthening of LTD and that the reinforced neuron exhibits irregular firing. We show the robustness of our findings to spike-timing correlations, to the synaptic weight dependence that is assumed, and to changes in the mean reward. We also consider our model in the differential reinforcement of two nearby neurons. Our model aligns more strongly with experimental studies than previous models and makes testable predictions for future experiments.
Reliability and normative values for the foot mobility magnitude: a composite measure of vertical and medial-lateral mobility of the midfoot
BACKGROUND: A study was conducted to determine the reliability and minimal detectable change for a new composite measure of the vertical and medial-lateral mobility of the midfoot called the foot mobility magnitude. METHODS: Three hundred and forty-five healthy participants volunteered to take part in the study. The change in dorsal arch height between weight bearing and non-weight bearing as well as the change in midfoot width between weight bearing and non-weight bearing were measured at 50% of total foot length and used to calculate the foot mobility magnitude. The reliability and minimal detectable change for the measurements were then determined based on the assessment of the measurements by three raters with different levels of clinical experience. RESULTS: The change in dorsal arch height between weight bearing and non-weight bearing, midfoot width between weight bearing and non-weight bearing, and the foot mobility magnitude were shown to have high levels of intra-rater and inter-rater reliability. Normative data are provided for the left and right feet of both the female (n = 211) and male (n = 134) subjects. CONCLUSION: While the measurements of navicular drop and drift have been used as a clinical method to assess both the vertical and medial-lateral mobility of the midfoot, poor to fair levels of inter-rater reliability have been reported. The results of the current study suggest that the foot mobility magnitude provides the clinician and researcher with a highly reliable measure of vertical and medial-lateral midfoot mobility.
Physical therapies for Achilles tendinopathy: systematic review and meta-analysis
UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: Achilles tendinopathy (AT) is a common condition, causing considerable morbidity in athletes and non-athletes alike. Conservative or physical therapies are accepted as first-line management of AT; however, despite a growing volume of research, there remains a lack of high quality studies evaluating their efficacy. Previous systematic reviews provide preliminary evidence for non-surgical interventions for AT, but lack key quality components as outlined in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) Statement. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis (where possible) of the evidence for physical therapies for AT management. METHODS: A comprehensive strategy was used to search 11 electronic databases from inception to September 2011. Search terms included Achilles, tendinopathy, pain, physical therapies, electrotherapy and exercise (English language full-text publications, human studies). Reference lists of eligible papers were hand-searched. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were included if they evaluated at least one non-pharmacological, non-surgical intervention for AT using at least one outcome of pain and/or function. Two independent reviewers screened 2852 search results, identifying 23 suitable studies, and assessed methodological quality and risk of bias using a modified PEDro scale. Effect size calculation and meta-analyses were based on fixed and random effects models respectively. RESULTS: Methodological quality ranged from 2 to 12 (/14). Four studies were excluded due to high risk of bias, leaving 19 studies, the majority of which evaluated midportion AT. Effect sizes from individual RCTs support the use of eccentric exercise. Meta-analyses identified significant effects favouring the addition of laser therapy to eccentric exercise at 12 weeks (pain VAS: standardised mean difference -0.59, 95% confidence interval -1.11 to -0.07), as well as no differences in effect between eccentric exercise and shock wave therapy at 16 weeks (VISA-A:-0.55,-2.21 to 1.11). Pooled data did not support the addition of night splints to eccentric exercise at 12 weeks (VISA-A:-0.35,-1.44 to 0.74). Limited evidence from an individual RCT suggests microcurrent therapy to be an effective intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Practitioners can consider eccentric exercise as an initial intervention for AT, with the addition of laser therapy as appropriate. Shock wave therapy may represent an effective alternative. High-quality RCTs following CONSORT guidelines are required to further evaluate the efficacy of physical therapies and determine optimal clinical pathways for AT.
Can foot anthropometric measurements predict dynamic plantar surface contact area?
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009-01-01)
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that increased plantar surface area, associated with pes planus, is a risk factor for the development of lower extremity overuse injuries. The intent of this study was to determine if a single or combination of foot anthropometric measures could be used to predict plantar surface area. METHODS: Six foot measurements were collected on 155 subjects (97 females, 58 males, mean age 24.5 +/- 3.5 years). The measurements as well as one ratio were entered into a stepwise regression analysis to determine the optimal set of measurements associated with total plantar contact area either including or excluding the toe region. The predicted values were used to calculate plantar surface area and were compared to the actual values obtained dynamically using a pressure sensor platform. RESULTS: A three variable model was found to describe the relationship between the foot measures/ratio and total plantar contact area (R2 = 0.77, p < 0.0001)). A three variable model was also found to describe the relationship between the foot measures/ratio and plantar contact area minus the toe region (R2 = 0.76, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that the clinician can use a combination of simple, reliable, and time efficient foot anthropometric measurements to explain over 75% of the plantar surface contact area, either including or excluding the toe region.
Dynamic foot function as a risk factor for lower limb overuse injury: a systematic review
(BioMed Central, 2014)
BACKGROUND:Dynamic foot function is considered a risk factor for lower limb overuse injuries including Achilles tendinopathy, shin pain, patellofemoral pain and stress fractures. However, no single source has systematically appraised and summarised the literature to evaluate this proposed relationship. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate dynamic foot function as a risk factor for lower limb overuse injury.METHODS:A systematic search was performed using Medline, CINAHL, Embase and SportDiscus in April 2014 to identify prospective cohort studies that utilised dynamic methods of foot assessment. Included studies underwent methodological quality appraisal by two independent reviewers using an adapted version of the Epidemiological Appraisal Instrument (EAI). Effects were expressed as standardised mean differences (SMD) for continuous scaled data, and risk ratios (RR) for nominal scaled data.RESULTS:Twelve studies were included (total n=3,773; EAI 0.44 to 1.20 out of 2.00, representing low to moderate quality). There was limited to very limited evidence for forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot plantar loading variables (SMD 0.47 to 0.85) and rearfoot kinematic variables (RR 2.67 to 3.43) as risk factors for patellofemoral pain; and plantar loading variables (forefoot, midfoot, rearfoot) as risk factors for Achilles tendinopathy (SMD 0.81 to 1.08). While there were significant findings from individual studies for plantar loading variables (SMD 0.3 to 0.84) and rearfoot kinematic variables (SMD 0.29 to 0.62) as risk factors for ’non-specific lower limb overuse injuries’, these were often conflicting regarding different anatomical regions of the foot. Findings from three studies indicated no evidence that dynamic foot function is a risk factor for iliotibial band syndrome or lower limb stress fractures.CONCLUSION:This systematic review identified very limited evidence that dynamic foot function during walking and running is a risk factor for patellofemoral pain, Achilles tendinopathy, and non-specific lower limb overuse injuries. It is unclear whether these risk factors can be identified clinically (without sophisticated equipment), or modified to prevent or manage these injuries. Future prospective cohort studies should address methodological limitations, avoid grouping different lower limb overuse injuries, and explore clinically meaningful representations of dynamic foot function.
Performance Analysis of a Semiactive Suspension System with Particle Swarm Optimization and Fuzzy Logic Control
(HINDAWI LTD, 2014-01-01)
This paper uses a quarter model of an automobile having passive and semiactive suspension systems to develop a scheme for an optimal suspension controller. Semi-active suspension is preferred over passive and active suspensions with regard to optimum performance within the constraints of weight and operational cost. A fuzzy logic controller is incorporated into the semi-active suspension system. It is able to handle nonlinearities through the use of heuristic rules. Particle swarm optimization (PSO) is applied to determine the optimal gain parameters for the fuzzy logic controller, while maintaining within the normalized ranges of the controller inputs and output. The performance of resulting optimized system is compared with different systems that use various control algorithms, including a conventional passive system, choice options of feedback signals, and damping coefficient limits. Also, the optimized semi-active suspension system is evaluated for its performance in relation to variation in payload. Furthermore, the systems are compared with respect to the attributes of road handling and ride comfort. In all the simulation studies it is found that the optimized fuzzy logic controller surpasses the other types of control.
The relationship of foot and ankle mobility to the frontal plane projection angle in asymptomatic adults
(BioMed Central, 2016)
The frontal plane projection angle (FPPA) is frequently used as a measure of dynamic knee valgus during functional tasks, such as the single leg squat. Increased dynamic knee valgus is observed in people with knee pathologies including patellofemoral pain and anterior cruciate injury. As the foot is the primary interface with the support surface, foot and ankle mobility may affect the FPPA. This study investigated the relationship between foot and ankle mobility and the FPPA in asymptomatic adults.
Interfacial nanodroplets guided construction of hierarchical Au, Au-Pt, and Au-Pd particles as excellent catalysts
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-05-06)
Interfacial nanodroplets were grafted to the surfaces of self-sacrificed template particles in a galvanic reaction system to assist the construction of 3D Au porous structures. The interfacial nanodroplets were formed via direct adsorption of surfactant-free emulsions onto the particle surfaces. The interfacial nanodroplets discretely distributed at the template particle surfaces and served as soft templates to guide the formation of porous Au structures. The self-variation of footprint sizes of interfacial nanodroplets during Au growth gave rise to a hierarchical pore size distribution of the obtained Au porous particles. This strategy could be easily extended to synthesize bimetal porous particles such as Au-Pt and Au-Pd. The obtained porous Au, Au-Pt, and Au-Pd particles showed excellent catalytic activity in catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol.
Doha agreement meeting on terminology and definitions in groin pain in athletes
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-06-01)
BACKGROUND: Heterogeneous taxonomy of groin injuries in athletes adds confusion to this complicated area. AIM: The 'Doha agreement meeting on terminology and definitions in groin pain in athletes' was convened to attempt to resolve this problem. Our aim was to agree on a standard terminology, along with accompanying definitions. METHODS: A one-day agreement meeting was held on 4 November 2014. Twenty-four international experts from 14 different countries participated. Systematic reviews were performed to give an up-to-date synthesis of the current evidence on major topics concerning groin pain in athletes. All members participated in a Delphi questionnaire prior to the meeting. RESULTS: Unanimous agreement was reached on the following terminology. The classification system has three major subheadings of groin pain in athletes: 1. Defined clinical entities for groin pain: Adductor-related, iliopsoas-related, inguinal-related and pubic-related groin pain. 2. Hip-related groin pain. 3. Other causes of groin pain in athletes. The definitions are included in this paper. CONCLUSIONS: The Doha agreement meeting on terminology and definitions in groin pain in athletes reached a consensus on a clinically based taxonomy using three major categories. These definitions and terminology are based on history and physical examination to categorise athletes, making it simple and suitable for both clinical practice and research.
Robotic exoskeletons: a perspective for the rehabilitation of arm coordination in stroke patients
Upper-limb impairment after stroke is caused by weakness, loss of individual joint control, spasticity, and abnormal synergies. Upper-limb movement frequently involves abnormal, stereotyped, and fixed synergies, likely related to the increased use of sub-cortical networks following the stroke. The flexible coordination of the shoulder and elbow joints is also disrupted. New methods for motor learning, based on the stimulation of activity-dependent neural plasticity have been developed. These include robots that can adaptively assist active movements and generate many movement repetitions. However, most of these robots only control the movement of the hand in space. The aim of the present text is to analyze the potential of robotic exoskeletons to specifically rehabilitate joint motion and particularly inter-joint coordination. First, a review of studies on upper-limb coordination in stroke patients is presented and the potential for recovery of coordination is examined. Second, issues relating to the mechanical design of exoskeletons and the transmission of constraints between the robotic and human limbs are discussed. The third section considers the development of different methods to control exoskeletons: existing rehabilitation devices and approaches to the control and rehabilitation of joint coordinations are then reviewed, along with preliminary clinical results available. Finally, perspectives and future strategies for the design of control mechanisms for rehabilitation exoskeletons are discussed.
Foot posture as a risk factor for lower limb overuse injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-12-19)
BACKGROUND: Static measures of foot posture are regularly used as part of a clinical examination to determine the need for foot level interventions. This is based on the premise that pronated and supinated foot postures may be risk factors for or associated with lower limb injury. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigates foot posture (measured statically) as a potential risk factor for lower limb overuse injuries. METHODS: A systematic search was performed using Medline, CINAHL, Embase, SportDiscus in April 2014, to identify prospective cohort studies that investigated foot posture and function as a risk factor for lower limb overuse injury. Eligible studies were classified based on the method of foot assessment: (i) static foot posture assessment; and/or (ii) dynamic foot function assessment. This review presents studies evaluating static foot posture. The methodological quality of included studies was evaluated by two independent reviewers, using an adapted version of the Epidemiological Appraisal Instrument (EAI). Where possible, effects were expressed as standardised mean differences (SMD) for continuous scaled data, and risk ratios (RR) for nominal scaled data. Meta-analysis was performed where injuries and outcomes were considered homogenous. RESULTS: Twenty-one studies were included (total n = 6,228; EAI 0.8 to 1.7 out of 2.0). There was strong evidence that a pronated foot posture was a risk factor for medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) development and very limited evidence that a pronated foot posture was a risk factor for patellofemoral pain development, although associated effect sizes were small (0.28 to 0.33). No relationship was identified between a pronated foot posture and any other evaluated pathology (i.e. foot/ankle injury, bone stress reactions and non-specific lower limb overuse injury). CONCLUSION: This systematic review identified strong and very limited evidence of small effect that a pronated foot posture is a risk factor for MTSS and patellofemoral pain respectively. Evaluation of static foot posture should be included in a multifactorial assessment for both MTSS and patellofemoral pain, although only as a part of the potential injury risk profile. Whilst the included measures are clinically applicable, further studies are required to determine their relationship with dynamic foot function.