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Title: The effects of neuromuscular fatigue on the complexity of isometric torque output in humans
Author: Pethick, Jamie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6058 0537
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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The temporal structure, or complexity, of torque output is thought to reflect the adaptability of motor control and has important implications for system function, with high values endowing greater adaptability in response to alterations in task demand. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effect of neuromuscular fatigue on the complexity of isometric muscle torque output. It was hypothesised that neuromuscular fatigue would lead to a reduction in the complexity of muscle torque output, as measured by approximate entropy (ApEn), sample entropy (SampEn) and the detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) α scaling exponent. The first experimental study (Chapter 4) demonstrated that muscle torque complexity was significantly reduced during both maximal and submaximal intermittent fatiguing contractions, with the values at task failure indicative of increasingly Brownian noise (DFA α > 1.50). It was subsequently shown in the second study (Chapter 5) that this reduction in complexity occurred exclusively during contractions performed above the critical torque. It was next demonstrated, in the third study (Chapter 6), that pre-existing fatigue significantly reduced torque complexity and time to task failure, but still resulted in consistent values of complexity at task failure regardless of the time taken to reach that point. In the fourth study (Chapter 7) caffeine ingestion was found to slow the rate of reduction in torque complexity with fatigue, seemingly through both central and peripheral mechanisms. Finally, in the fifth study (Chapter 8) eccentric exercise decreased the complexity of torque output, with values only recovering to baseline levels after 24 hours recovery, in comparison to only 10 minutes recovery following isometric exercise. These results demonstrate that torque complexity is significantly perturbed by neuromuscular fatigue. This thesis has thus provided substantial evidence that the complexity of motor control during force production becomes less complex, and that muscles become less adaptable, with neuromuscular fatigue.
Supervisor: Burnley, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QP Physiology (Living systems)