Office of Undergraduate Research

Influence of musculoskeletal disorders on force variability

Muscle force is less variable during maximal than submaximal grips lasting 1-2 sec as less sensory feedback is required during maximal grips. However, it is unknown how muscular fatigue during sustained grips affects force variability. Also, it is unknown how pain and sensory impairments due to musculoskeletal injuries impact force variability. We have two objectives: To examine differences in force variability between maximal and submaximal grip efforts 1) when exerted for 6 vs. 10 sec, and 2) when exerted by injured vs. uninjured hands. We will examine previously collected grip force data from 60 healthy vs. 60 injured hands. Force variability will be determined by calculating moving point averages and generating autoregressive models. The resulting error (force variability) will be examined using repeated measures ANOVA with within-subjects variables as effort (maximal vs submaximal), time (6 vs. 10 sec) and a between-subject variable as hands (injured vs. uninjured hands)

Tasks and responsibilities:

The student will be involved in the following tasks: 1) Literature review: assist with conducting literature searches, retrieving articles from the library and maintaining a bibliography using the Endnote software. 2) Assist with the IRB approval and complete training on human subject protection as well as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prior to assisting with the IRB approval process. 3) Data management: manage the grip force data in the Biograph Infiniti software, including calculating moving averages, extracting files. 4) Preparing the data for statistical analysis by a biostatistician. 5) Descriptive statistics: assist with calculating descriptive statistics, which includes computing means, frequencies and cross-tabulations. 6) Tables and Figures: assist with creating tables and figures that will be used for reporting the results of the study. 7) Conference presentation: create a poster to present at a national conference.