Nonlinear damping properties and postural stability of the neuromuscular system

David C. Lin*, William Z Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Damped oscillations caused by external disturbances are commonplace in the human neuromuscular system. Although mechanical and reflex properties have been studied extensively under length controlled conditions, their interaction with inertial loads, which are the most commonly experienced natural loads, have been infrequently studied. These interactions could be the key to understanding joint stability. The goal of the present study was to characterize the damping properties of the neuromuscular system when coupled to inertial loads and analyze system responses with respect to postural stability. We performed two series of parallel experiments using the soleus in a decerebrate cat preparation and the interphalageal (IP) joint of the thumb in humans. Damping properties were assessed by applying a force impulse to a simulated inertia and measuring the energy transfer between the muscle and load. In human and cat preparations, damping depended upon oscillation amplitude and movement history. In contrast to linear systems with fixed parameters, these nonlinearities provide the advantage of initially promoting preservation of position and subsequently damping oscillations. It is postulated that the beneficial nonlinear mechanical behaviors arise from the automatic movement induced modulation of reflex sensitivity interacting with intrinsic muscular properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1652-1655
Number of pages4
JournalAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings
Volume4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
EventProceedings of the 1997 19th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: Oct 30 1997Nov 2 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics

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