In reference to electromyographic measurement, the study was conducted to reassess differences in the behavior of fatigue-related neuromuscular function between young and elderly humans with limb acceleration (LA). Fourteen young and fourteen elderly subjects performed sustained index abduction at 75% of their maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) until task failure. Measures of neuromuscular function, including temporal/ spectral features of muscle activity of the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) and LA of the index and hand, were monitored. The results showed a manifest fatigue-induced increase in LA of the index in the elderly group, but not in the young group. In contrast, only the young group developed a significant increase in amplitude of the electromyography (EMG) until task failure. Spectral analyses of LA in the index reflected marked age-dependent reorganization following muscle fatigue, with a greater reduction of relative spectral amplitude of LA in the range of 20-40 Hz, but a lesser reduction in coherence between EMG and LA in the elderly group. In line with fatigue-associated restructuring of LA, the mechanical coupling of the metacarpophalangeal joint was more severely undermined in the elderly group than in the young group. The present study manifested an age-related difference in the relative contributions of neural versus mechanical factors to muscle fatigue. Subsequent to a high-level sustained submaximal isometric contraction, a predominant mechanical failure of the musculotendon complex in the elderly was featured with LA, whereas EMG measurement characterized prevailing impairment of neuromuscular propagation in the young.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)