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Title: Modulating the structure of motor variability for skill learning through specific muscle synergies in elderlies and young adults
Authors: Cheung, VCK
Zheng, XC
Cheung, RTH 
Chan, RHM
Issue Date: 2020
Source: IEEE open journal of engineering in medicine and biology, 2020, v. 1, p. 33-40
Abstract: Objective: Motor variability - performance variations across task repetitions - has been assumed to be undesirable. But recent studies argue that variability facilitates early motor learning by allowing exploratory search of reward-generating motion, and that variability's structure may be modulated by neural circuits for furthering learning. What are the neural sources of learning-relevant motor variability and its modulation in humans of different ages?
Methods: Elderlies and young adults played a 3-session virtual bowling while multi-muscle electromyographic signals were collected. We quantified trial-to-trial variability of muscle synergies - neuromotor control modules - and of their activations.
Results: In elderlies, bowling-score gain correlated with change of activation timing variability of specific synergies, but in young adults, with variability changes of synergy-activation magnitude, and of the synergies themselves.
Conclusions: Variability modulation of specific muscle synergies and their activations contribute to early motor learning. Elderly and young individuals may rely on different aspects of motor variability to drive learning.
Keywords: Ageing
EMG
Motor Learning
Motor Variability
Muscle Synergy
Publisher: IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
Journal: IEEE open journal of engineering in medicine and biology 
EISSN: 2644-1276
DOI: 10.1109/OJEMB.2019.2963666
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
The following publication Cheung, V. C., Zheng, X. C., Cheung, R. T., & Chan, R. H. (2020). Modulating the structure of motor variability for skill learning through specific muscle synergies in elderlies and young adults. IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology, 1, 33-40 is available at https://doi.org/10.1109/OJEMB.2019.2963666
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