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Title: A neurophysiological examination of voluntary isometric contractions : modulations in sensorimotor oscillatory dynamics with contraction force and physical fatigue, and peripheral contributions to maximal force production
Author: Fry, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 5924 275X
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2016
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Human motor control is a complex process involving both central and peripheral components of the nervous system. Type Ia afferent input contributes to both motor unit recruitment and firing frequency, however, whether maximal force production is dependent on this input is unclear. Therefore, chapter 2 examined maximal and explosive force production of the knee extensors following prolonged infrapatellar tendon vibration; designed to attenuate the efficacy of the homonymous Ia afferent-α-motoneuron pathway. Despite a marked decrease in H-reflex amplitude, indicating an attenuated efficacy of the Ia afferent-α-motoneuron pathway, both maximal and explosive force production were unaffected after vibration. This suggested that maximal and explosive isometric quadriceps force production was not dependent upon Ia afferent input to the homonymous motor unit pool. Voluntary movements are linked with various modulations in ongoing neural oscillations within the supraspinal sensorimotor system. Despite considerable interest in the oscillatory responses to movements per se, the influence of the motor parameters that define these movements is poorly understood. Subsequently, chapters 3 and 4 investigated how the motor parameters of voluntary contractions modulated the oscillatory amplitude. Chapter 3 recorded electroencephalography from the leg area of the primary sensorimotor cortex in order to investigate the oscillatory responses to isometric unilateral contractions of the knee-extensors at four torque levels (15, 30, 45 and 60% max.). An increase in movement-related gamma (30-50 Hz) activity was observed with increments in knee-extension torque, whereas oscillatory power within the delta (0.5-3 Hz), theta (3-7 Hz), alpha (7-13 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) bands were unaffected. Chapter 4 examined the link between the motor parameters of voluntary contraction and modulations in beta (15-30 Hz) oscillations; specifically, movement-related beta decrease (MRBD) and post-movement beta rebound (PMBR). Magnetoencephalography (MEG) was recorded during isometric ramp and constant-force wrist-flexor contractions at distinct rates of force development (10.4, 28.9 and 86.7% max./s) and force output (5, 15, 35 and 60%max.), respectively. MRBD was unaffected by RFD or force output, whereas systematic modulation of PMBR by both contraction force and RFD was identified for the first time. Specifically, increments in isometric contraction force increased PMBR amplitude, and increments in RFD increased PMBR amplitude but decreased PMBR duration. Physical fatigue arises not only from peripheral processes within the active skeletal muscles but also from supraspinal mechanisms within the brain. However, exactly how cortical activity is modulated during fatigue has received a paucity of attention. Chapter 5 investigated whether oscillatory activity within the primary sensorimotor cortex was modulated when contractions were performed in a state of physical fatigue. MEG was recorded during submaximal isometric contractions of the wrist-flexors performed both before and after a fatiguing series of isometric wrist-flexions or a time matched control intervention. Physical fatigue offset the attenuation in MRBD observed during the control trial, whereas PMBR was increased when submaximal contractions were performed in a fatigued state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Isometric muscle contraction ; Force ; La afferent ; Electroencephalography ; Magnetoencephalography ; Movement-related beta decrease ; Post-movement beta rebound ; Fatigue