Upper Limb Strength Estimation of Physically Impaired Persons using a Musculoskeletal Model: A Sensitivity Analysis

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2015, pp. 2438 - 2441
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Sensitivity of upper limb strength calculated from a musculoskeletal model was analyzed, with focus on how the sensitivity is affected when the model is adapted to represent a person with physical impairment. Sensitivity was calculated with respect to four muscle-tendon parameters: muscle peak isometric force, muscle optimal length, muscle pennation, and tendon slack length. Results obtained from a musculoskeletal model of average strength showed highest sensitivity to tendon slack length, followed by muscle optimal length and peak isometric force, which is consistent with existing studies. Muscle pennation angle was relatively insensitive. The analysis was repeated after adapting the musculoskeletal model to represent persons with varying severities of physical impairment. Results showed that utilizing the weakened model significantly increased the sensitivity of the calculated strength at the hand, with parameters previously insensitive becoming highly sensitive. This increased sensitivity presents a significant challenge in applications utilizing musculoskeletal models to represent impaired individuals.
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