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Title: Effects of localised cooling and warming on neuromuscular control in young and older women
Author: Dewhurst, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3423 134X
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2007
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The present thesis investigated the effects of localised warming (increased muscle temperature ~3/4°C) and cooling (decreased muscle temperature ~3/4°C) of the lower limbs on neuromuscular control in young (18-26 years) and older (65-75 years) healdiy women. The principal aims were to investigate the effects of temperature on 1) maximal voluntary isometric and isokinetic contractions, and the electromyographic signal; 2) the H reflex and maximal compound action potential and the H. /M. ratio; 3) postural control; 4) force fluctuation during a fine motor control task. Different responses to temperature were observed between the young and older groups. For example, cooling was found to reduce the isokinetic torque output when compared to the control condition in the young (average reduction ~7%), but not in the older adults. Similarly the HO, /Mm ratio, an indication of spinal reflex excitability, was increased following cooling in the young subjects only (by 28%). In both groups, however, H reflex onset latency decreased with warming (by 5.3%) and increased with cooling (by 5.5%). This led to hypothesises that the temperature related change in reflex onset would affect the proproceptive response during postural control; however, no effect of temperature on postural control was found in either group following either warming or cooling. In the final study, the effects of cooling were again different between the groups, with the force fluctuations during low intensity isometric tasks increasing as a result of cooling compared to the control condition in only the older subjects (mean increase 35%). In conclusion, older individuals show a different response to cooling compared to young subjects. Whilst cooling does not affect gross motor tasks and postural stability in the older subjects, it does affect the ability of an older individual to perform fine motor tasks. Warming, however, had little effect on neuromuscular control in either group.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral