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Biomechanics Laboratory
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Ljubljana
Slovenia

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Current Research Projects


Research programme:
"MECHANISMS OF HEALTH MAINTENANCE"


Head: prof. dr. Tjaša Griessler Bulc
Period: 1.1.2017 - 31.12.2020
Subprogramme: The influence of various somatosensory stimuli on postural sway
Head: prof. dr. Darja Rugelj
Funding: ARRS P3-0388

Sensory-motor interaction is important for the development of skillful movement and is also an fundamental for the restoration of the motor function following injury or disuse. Several therapeutic modalities are currently available and have varying degrees of scientific support. Therefore, the purpose is to examine the effects of various therapeutic procedures on maintaining upright posture and balance in young and older adults. The second purpose is to identify potential differences in response to stimuli between the two groups. We will study four different types of sensory stimuli: standing on soft and compliant surface, kinesio taping, sub-threshold (below the limit of conscious perception) electrical stimulation and sub-threshold vibratory stimulation. We want to evaluate processes that can provide additional sensory stimuli and thereby influence the posture and balance, optimize their parameters and application modes.

Subthreshold low and medium frequency vibration stimuli and their influence on postural sway
We are interested in the extent to which the vibration noise with steady frequencies transmitted through the sole and the muscular belly affects the postural sway. We also want to determine weather there are differs in the response of postural sway to the low-frequency vibratory stimuli (5-10 Hz) and the medium frequency (100-300 Hz).

Subtreshold TENS stimulation and its influence on postural sway
The purpose is to find out whether electrical stimuli in the form of a conventional TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) affect the movement of the center of pressure in a similar way as the stochastic resonance noise. We will apply different frequencies and different frequency modulations of TENS at the interval between 5 to 180 Hz. We will also evaluate potential differences of electrode positions on various sites of foot and calf. For the experiments we will use clinical devices that are routinely used in therapeutic settings.

Effect of kinesio taping over the calf muscles on the postural sway during quiet standing.
The purpose is to determine the effect of kinesio taping over the muscle tibialis anterior and triceps sure. We will evaluate the immediate effect on the postural sway in young and older adults. We will also evaluate possible differences between the response of the two investigated groups.

The effect of successive repetitions of standing on compliant surface with open and closed eyes on postural sway.
The purpose is to gain insight into how the postural sway changes in time, or whether the plateau is visible after repetitions. We aim at determining how many successive short repetitions of standing on a compliant surface is necessary to observe the effect of motor learning. This information will add to the body of knowledge for the reliability of postural sway measurements on a compliant surface and will provide insight into the necessary volume of treatment for establishing a therapeutic effect of standing on a compliant surface.


Selected previous research projects


Project:"DECREASING JOINT INJURIES IN DIFFERENT SPORTS"
Head of project: dr. Renata Vauhnik
Funding: Fundacija za šport
Partners: Košarkarska zveza Slovenije, Judo zveza Slovenije, Badminton zveza Slovenije

In this project prevention program for decreasing the number of knee and ankle injuries was introduced to the coaches of Judo Association of Slovenia. In addition, the prevention program for decreasing the number of knee and ankle injuries introduced to the athletes once a week for a period of three months in the basketball and badminton clubs in Slovenia. Before and after the implementation of prevention program stabilometry measurements will be performed.


Project:»HELPING FAMILIES IN COMMUNITY: CO-CREATION OF DESIRED CHANGES FOR REDUCING SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND STRENGTHENING HEALTH«
Acronym: »Co-creation of help for families in community«
Work package: »Developing the training programs for active life style and enhancement of mobility for elderly«
Head of project: doc. dr. Nina Mešl
Head of the ZF work package: doc. dr. Darja Rugelj
Funding: Norway grants
Project web page: spds.fsd.uni-lj.si
Partners: Høgskolen i Sør-Trøndelag, Faculty of Social Work UL, Faculty of Health Sciences UL, Faculty za Sport UL, Association of Friends of Youth Ljubljana Moste - Polje


The purpose of the ZF work package is to develop specially targeted training for enhancement of mobility for elderly community dwelling persons. Based on best practices and experiences with balance-specific training we will develop and evaluate a specially targeted training program for the enhancement of mobility for elderly community dwelling persons with specific emphasise on public transportation users. Therefore we will develop and implement a questionnaire to recognise the most frequent problems the elderly users meet. Based on this data the reconsiderations for user friendly public transportation will be developed.



Research programmes


Research programme: "MECHANISMS OF HEALTH MAINTENANCE"
Head: dr. Tjaša Griessler Bulc
Period: 1.1.2014 - 31.12.2016
Subprogramme: Mechanisms of posture and voluntary movement control
Head: dr. Darja Rugelj
Funding: ARRS P3-0388

Dual tasking and its influence on postural steadiness and spatio-temporal gait variables for younger and elderly adults. The purpose of the project is to determine dual task costs for different types of cognitive tasks on posture and gait. We will study the effect of cognitive tasks that are functionally used in daily life such as calculation tasks, conversation, telephone conversation and text messaging, The postural sway during stance will be measure with force plate (Kistler). The influence of dual-tasking on gait will be studied with instrumental walkway (GaitRite ®). Variability of spatio-temporal gait parameters will be studied. Based on above results we will design specific exercise program for elderly community dwelling adults.


Sensory motor integration in posture and gate. The first purpose of the project is to evaluate the effect of mobilization of foot joints on postural sway. The second purpose is to evaluate the use of light touch paradigm for training of balance and gate for different subgroups of elderly adults. We will combine research of both paradigms, the dual task and the light touch paradigm and p repair and evaluate the exercise program for community dwelling elderly.


Research programme: "SYSTEMS FOR DECISION SUPPORT IN ELECTRONIC ENVIRONMENT"
Head: dr. Boštjan Gomišček
Subprogramme: Development of systems for assessing the mechanisms of posture and movement control
Head of ZF part: dr. France Sevšek
Funding: ARRS P5-0018

Research programme combines a simulation methodology with qualitative methods, expert systems into a new paradigm for decision support in e-business environment. In Biomechanics laboratory we shall continue with the development of the systems for assessing the balance and gait parameters.


Project:"DECREASING JOINT INJURIES IN DIFFERENT SPORTS"
Head of project: dr. Renata Vauhnik
Funding: Fundacija za šport


Purpose of this study is to assess sports injury risk factors among basketball players in the following selections U–15 and U–16. The following risk factors will be assessed: 1. Knee anterior laxity will be assessed with GNRB 2. Muscle strength will be measured with Cybex machine 3. Balance measurement when standing on one leg and 4. Balance measurement when landing to one leg will be measured with stabilometry. Results will be analysed and combined with the data of previous knee and ankle injuries. Using the results of the testing, sport specific injury prevention programs for decreasing knee and ankle injuries will be presented to basketball players on the workshops.


Research project: "DECREASING JOINT INJURIES IN DIFFERENT SPORTS"
Head of project: dr. Renata Vauhnik
Funding: Fundacija za šport

Purpose of this study is to assess sports injury risk factors among basketball players in the following selections U–15, U–16 and U-18. Knee anterior laxity will be assessed with GNRB arthrometer and balance when standing on one leg and landing to one leg will be measured with stabilometry. Results will be analysed and combined with the data of previous knee and ankle injuries. Using the results of the testing, sport specific injury prevention programs for decreasing knee and ankle injuries will be presented to basketball players on the workshops.


Research project: "INNOVATIVE APPROACHES IN KNEE INJURY PREVENTION AND REHABILITATION"
Head of project: dr. Renata Vauhnik

Until recently, it was believed that the only way to decrease increased knee joint laxity after anterior cruciate ligament injury has been with surgical tightening of the knee; procedures that are expensive, not always successful and potentially harmful. Purpose of the study is to investigate whether knee anterior laxity in subjects with partial rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament can be decreased with passive loading of knee joint. Prior and after three months of passive knee loading exercises, volume of the anterior cruciate ligament will be measured with the MRI, while knee anterior laxity will be measured with GNRB arthrometer.


Doctor research project: "Biomechanical analysis of two sizes of hip endoprosthesis"
Boris Rijavec
Supervisor: dr. Darja Rugelj




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