Precision-grip force changes in the anatomical and prosthetic limb during predictable load increases
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This study examined precision-grip force applied to an instrumented test object held aloft while the weight of the object was predictably varied by transporting and placing loads (50, 100, or 200 g) atop the test object. Transport of the loads was performed either by the subject or the experimenter. Grip force was examined in four non-amputee control subjects and in the anatomical and prosthetic hand of a subject with a prosthetic device. As subjects transported the load, anticipatory grip-force changes occurred in the anatomical hands and prosthetic hand, which were scaled in relation to the load. When the experimenter transported the load to the anatomical hands of control subjects or the prosthetic user, anticipatory increases in grip force occurred that also were scaled in relation to load. However, when the experimenter transported the load to the prosthetic hand, anticipatory grip-force adjustments were absent. During the phase in which the load was being assumed by the postural hand, grip forces in the anatomical hands and prosthetic hand were further scaled to load demands. Ability to adapt grip force in the prosthetic hand during this phase suggested that the subject was utilizing sensory information from the residual limb to adjust grip force. Thus, while anticipatory changes precede the process of adaptation to load changes, actual sensory consequences resulting from added weight remain necessary to fully adapt grip force to load demands, even for the prosthetic user.
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