Alternating Consecutive Maximum Contraction as a Test of Muscle Function in Athletes Following ACL Reconstruction.

Alternating Consecutive Maximum Contraction as a Test of Muscle Function in Athletes Following ACL Reconstruction.

J Hum Kinet. 2012 Dec; 35: 5-13
Knezevic OM, Mirkov DM, Kadija M, Milovanovic D, Jaric S

The novel test based on isometric alternating consecutive maximal contractions performed by two antagonistic muscles has been recently proposed as a test of muscle function in healthy subjects. The aim of this study was to evaluate reliability and sensitivity of a novel test as a test of knee muscles function in athletes recovering from anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Fifteen male athletes with recent ligament reconstruction (4.0 ± 0.1 months following the surgery) and 15 sport and physical education students participated in the study. Peak torques of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles assessed both through the alternating consecutive maximal contractions and standard isokinetic test performed at 60 º/s and 180 º/s served for calculation of the hamstrings-to-quadriceps ratio and the bilateral difference in strength. When applied on individuals recovering from anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, the novel test revealed a high within-day reliability and sensitivity for detecting imbalances both between antagonistic and between contralateral muscles. The present findings suggest that alternating consecutive maximal contractions could be used as a test of muscle function that is either complementary or alternative to the isokinetic test, particularly in the laboratories where the isokinetic devices are not available. Potential advantages of the novel test could be both a brief testing procedure and a possibility to conduct it using relatively inexpensive devices such as custom made kits containing a single one-axis force transducer. HubMed – rehab


Causal Frequency-Specific Contributions of Frontal Spatiotemporal Patterns Induced by Non-Invasive Neurostimulation to Human Visual Performance.

J Neurosci. 2013 Mar 13; 33(11): 5000-5005
Chanes L, Quentin R, Tallon-Baudry C, Valero-Cabré A

Neural oscillatory activity is known to play a crucial role in brain function. In the particular domain of visual perception, specific frequency bands in different brain regions and networks, from sensory areas to large-scale frontoparietal systems, have been associated with distinct aspects of visual behavior. Nonetheless, their contributions to human visual cognition remain to be causally demonstrated. We hereby used non-uniform (and thus non-frequency-specific) and uniform (frequency-specific) high-beta and gamma patterns of noninvasive neurostimulation over the right frontal eye field (FEF) to isolate the behavioral effects of oscillation frequency and provide causal evidence that distinct visual behavioral outcomes could be modulated by frequency-specific activity emerging from a single cortical region. In a visual detection task using near-threshold targets, high-beta frequency enhanced perceptual sensitivity (d’) without changing response criterion (beta), whereas gamma frequency shifted response criterion but showed no effects on perceptual sensitivity. The lack of behavioral modulations by non-frequency-specific patterns demonstrates that these behavioral effects were specifically driven by burst frequency. We hypothesize that such frequency-coded behavioral impact of oscillatory activity may reflect a general brain mechanism to multiplex functions within the same neural substrate. Furthermore, pathological conditions involving impaired cerebral oscillations could potentially benefit in the near future from the use of neurostimulation to restore the characteristic oscillatory patterns of healthy systems. HubMed – rehab


Motor Learning Interference Is Proportional to Occlusion of LTP-Like Plasticity.

J Neurosci. 2013 Mar 13; 33(11): 4634-41
Cantarero G, Tang B, O’Malley R, Salas R, Celnik P

Learning interference occurs when learning something new causes forgetting of an older memory (retrograde interference) or when learning a new task disrupts learning of a second subsequent task (anterograde interference). This phenomenon, described in cognitive, sensory, and motor domains, limits our ability to learn multiple tasks in close succession. It has been suggested that the source of interference is competition of neural resources, although the neuronal mechanisms are unknown. Learning induces long-term potentiation (LTP), which can ultimately limit the ability to induce further LTP, a phenomenon known as occlusion. In humans we quantified the magnitude of occlusion of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation-induced increased excitability after learning a skill task as an index of the amount of LTP-like plasticity used. We found that retention of a newly acquired skill, as reflected by performance in the second day of practice, is proportional to the magnitude of occlusion. Moreover, the degree of behavioral interference was correlated with the magnitude of occlusion. Individuals with larger occlusion after learning the first skill were (1) more resilient to retrograde interference and (2) experienced larger anterograde interference when training a second task, as expressed by decreased performance of the learned skill in the second day of practice. This effect was not observed if sufficient time elapsed between training the two skills and LTP-like occlusion was not present. These findings suggest competition of LTP-like plasticity is a factor that limits the ability to remember multiple tasks trained in close succession. HubMed – rehab