The differential effects of fatigue on reflex response timing and amplitude in males and females

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sandra J. Shultz, Professor and Chair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: We examined the effects of fatigue on patellar tendon reflex responses in males and females. A spring-loaded reflex hammer elicited a standardized tendon tap with the knee positioned in an isokinetic dynamometer and flexed to 85°. We recorded vastus lateralis activity (SEMG) and knee extension force production at the distal tibia (force transducer). Reflex trials were performed before and after (immediate, 2, 4, and 6 min) an isokinetic fatigue protocol to 50% MVC (90°/s). For each event, pre-motor time (PMT), electromechanical delay (EMD), and total motor time (TMT) were obtained, as well as EMG amplitude (EMGamp), time to peak EMG (EMGtpk), peak force amplitude (Famp), time to peak force (Ftpk), EMG:force ratio (E:F), and rate of force production (Frate=N/ms). TMT increased significantly in females following fatigue, while males showed no change. The increased TMT was due to an increased EMD with fatigue, while PMT was unaffected. EMGamp and Famp were somewhat diminished in females yet significantly augmented in males following fatigue, likely accounting for the differential changes in EMD noted. Results suggest males and females may respond differently to isokinetic fatigue, with males having a greater capacity to compensate for contraction force failure when responding to mechanical perturbations.

Additional Information

Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2002; 12:351-360.
Language: English
Date: 2002
Electromechanical delay, Total motor time, Electromyography, Spinal reflex

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