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Peripheral sensory feedback plays a crucial role in ensuring correct motor execution throughout hand grasp control. Previous studies utilized local anesthesia to deprive somatosensory feedback in the digits or hand, observations included sensorimotor deficits at both corticospinal and peripheral levels. However, the questions of how the disturbed and intact sensory input integrate and interact with each other to assist the motor program execution, and whether the motor coordination based on motor output variability between affected and non-affected elements (e.g., digits) becomes interfered by the local sensory deficiency, have not been answered. The current study aims to investigate the effect of peripheral deafferentation through digital nerve blocks at selective digits on motor performance and motor coordination in grasp control. Our results suggested that the absence of somatosensory information induced motor deficits in hand grasp control, as evidenced by reduced maximal force production ability in both local and non-local digits, impairment of force and moment control during object lift and hold, and attenuated motor synergies in stabilizing task performance variables, namely the tangential force and moment of force. These findings implied that individual sensory input is shared across all the digits and the disturbed signal from local sensory channel(s) has a more comprehensive impact on the process of the motor output execution in the sensorimotor integration process. Additionally, a feedback control mechanism with a sensation-based component resides in the formation process for the motor covariation structure.


This article was originally published in frontiers in Human Neuroscience, available at doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00596.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CCBY).



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