Istituto di Ingegneria Biomedica     
Pedrocchi A., Baroni G., Pedotti A., Massion J., Ferrigno G. Inverse dynamic investigation of voluntary leg lateral movements in weightlessness: A new microgravity-specific strategy. In: Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 38 pp. 769 - 77. Elsevier, 2005.
This study deals with the quantitative assessment of exchanged forces and torques at the restraint point during whole body posture perturbation movements in long-term microgravity. The work was based on the results of a previous study focused on trunk bending protocol, which suggested that the minimization of the torques exchanged at the restraint point could be a strategy for movement planning in microgravity (J. Biomech. 36(11) (2003) 1691). Torques minimization would lead to the optimization of muscles activity, to the minimization of energy expenditure and, ultimately, to higher movement control capabilities. Here, we focus on leg lateral abduction from anchored stance. The analysis was based on inverse dynamic modelling, leading to the estimation of the total angular momentum at the supporting ankle joint. Results agree with those obtained for trunk bending movements and point out a consistent minimization of the torques exchanged at the restraint point in weightlessness. Given the kinematic features of the examined motor task, this strategy was interpreted as a way to master the rotational dynamic effects on the frontal plane produced by leg lateral abduction. This postural stabilizing effects was the result of a multi-segmental compensation strategy, consisting of the counter rotation of the supporting limb and trunk accompanying the leg raising. The observed consistency of movement-posture co-ordination patterns among lateral leg raising and trunk bending is put forward as a novel interpretative issue of the adaptation mechanisms of the motor system to sustained microgravity, especially if one considers the completely different kinematics of the centre of mass, which was observed in weightlessness for these two motor tasks.
URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15713298
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2004.05.043
Subject movement analysis
Motor control
Inverse dynamics
Leg lateral movements

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