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Details

  • Name

    Flora Rocha Ferreira
  • Cluster

    Computer Science
  • Role

    External Research Collaborator
  • Since

    01st September 2017
002
Publications

2019

Gait stride-to-stride variability and foot clearance pattern analysis in Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease and Vascular Parkinsonism

Authors
Ferreira, F; Gago, MF; Bicho, E; Carvalho, C; Mollaei, N; Rodrigues, L; Sousa, N; Rodrigues, PP; Ferreira, C; Gama, J;

Publication
Journal of Biomechanics

Abstract
The literature on gait analysis in Vascular Parkinsonism (VaP), addressing issues such as variability, foot clearance patterns, and the effect of levodopa, is scarce. This study investigates whether spatiotemporal, foot clearance and stride-to-stride variability analysis can discriminate VaP, and responsiveness to levodopa. Fifteen healthy subjects, 15 Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease (IPD) patients and 15 VaP patients, were assessed in two phases: before (Off-state), and one hour after (On-state) the acute administration of a suprathreshold (1.5 times the usual) levodopa dose. Participants were asked to walk a 30-meter continuous course at a self-selected walking speed while wearing foot-worn inertial sensors. For each gait variable, mean, coefficient of variation (CV), and standard deviations SD1 and SD2 obtained by Poincaré analysis were calculated. General linear models (GLMs) were used to identify group differences. Patients were subject to neuropsychological evaluation (MoCA test) and Brain MRI. VaP patients presented lower mean stride velocity, stride length, lift-off and strike angle, and height of maximum toe (later swing) (p < .05), and higher %gait cycle in double support, with only the latter unresponsive to levodopa. VaP patients also presented higher CV, significantly reduced after levodopa. Yet, all VaP versus IPD differences lost significance when accounting for mean stride length as a covariate. In conclusion, VaP patients presented a unique gait with reduced degrees of foot clearance, probably correlated to vascular lesioning in dopaminergic/non-dopaminergic cortical and subcortical non-dopaminergic networks, still amenable to benefit from levodopa. The dependency of gait and foot clearance and variability deficits from stride length deserves future clarification. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

2019

Neural Field Model for Measuring and Reproducing Time Intervals

Authors
Wojtak, W; Ferreira, F; Bicho, E; Erlhagen, W;

Publication
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)

Abstract
The continuous real-time motor interaction with our environment requires the capacity to measure and produce time intervals in a highly flexible manner. Recent neurophysiological evidence suggests that the neural computational principles supporting this capacity may be understood from a dynamical systems perspective: Inputs and initial conditions determine how a recurrent neural network evolves from a “resting state” to a state triggering the action. Here we test this hypothesis in a time measurement and time reproduction experiment using a model of a robust neural integrator based on the theoretical framework of dynamic neural fields. During measurement, the temporal accumulation of input leads to the evolution of a self-stabilized bump whose amplitude reflects elapsed time. During production, the stored information is used to reproduce on a trial-by-trial basis the time interval either by adjusting input strength or initial condition of the integrator. We discuss the impact of the results on our goal to endow autonomous robots with a human-like temporal cognition capacity for natural human-robot interactions. © 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

2019

Numerical analysis of the shape of bump solutions in a neuronal model of working memory

Authors
Wojtak, W; Ferreira, F; Bicho, E; Erlhagen, W;

Publication
AIP Conference Proceedings

Abstract
Neural field models, formalized by integro-differential equations, describe the large-scale spatio-temporal dynamics of neuronal populations [1]. They have been used in the past as a framework for modeling a wide range of brain functions, including multi-item working memory [2]. Neural field equations support spatially localized regions of high activity (or bumps) that are initially triggered by brief sensory inputs and subsequently become self-sustained by recurrent interactions within the neural population. We apply a special class of oscillatory coupling functions and analyze how the shape and spatial extension of multi-bump solutions change as the spatial ranges of excitation and inhibition within the field are varied [3]. More precisely, we use numerical continuation to find and follow solutions of neural field equations as the parameter controlling the distance between consecutive zeros of the coupling function is varied [4]. Important for a working memory application (e.g. [5]), we investigate how changes in this parameter affect the shape of bump solutions and therefore the maximum number of bumps that may exist in a given finite interval. © 2019 Author(s).

2018

Position-based kinematics for 7-DoF serial manipulators with global configuration control, joint limit and singularity avoidance

Authors
Faria, C; Ferreira, F; Erlhagen, W; Monteiro, S; Bicho, E;

Publication
Mechanism and Machine Theory

Abstract
This paper presents a novel analytic method to uniquely solve inverse kinematics of 7 degrees-of-freedom manipulators while avoiding joint limits and singularities. Two auxiliary parameters are introduced to deal with the self-motion manifolds: the global configuration (GC), which specifies the branch of inverse kinematics solutions; and the arm angle (?) that parametrizes the elbow redundancy within the specified branch. The relations between the joint angles and the arm angle are derived, in order to map the joint limits and singularities to arm angle values. Then, intervals of feasible arm angles for the specified target pose and global configuration are determined, taking joint limits and singularities into account. A simple metric is proposed to compute the elbow position according to the feasible intervals. When the arm angle is determined, the joint angles can be uniquely calculated from the position-based inverse kinematics algorithm. The presented method does not exhibit the disadvantages inherent to the use of the Jacobian matrix and can be implemented in real-time control systems. This novel algorithm is the first position-based inverse kinematics algorithm to solve both global and local manifolds, using a redundancy resolution strategy to avoid singularities and joint limits. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

2018

Foot clearance pattern: a distinctive gait variable in vascular Parkinson's disease

Authors
Gago, MF; Ferreira, F; Carvalho, C; Mollaei, N; Bicho, E; Rodrigues, L; Sousa, N; Gama, J; Ferreira, C;

Publication
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY

Abstract