How do muscles change shape when they are passively lengthened?

Muscles are often referred to as ‘motors’ that drive human and animal movements. This analogy certainly captures the important role of muscles as active generators of force and movement. However, it sells the equally important passive properties of muscles short. Most of us will only appreciate the importance of passive […]


Exercise reduces pain through a peripheral mechanism in healthy adults 1

In healthy adults, it is well demonstrated that a single bout of exercise can acutely reduce pain (Naugle et al., 2012), a phenomenon known as exercise-induced hypoalgesia. However, the mechanisms of pain reduction after exercise are not clear. The methods commonly used to study pain responses after exercise in humans […]


How common are sleep disturbances in multiple sclerosis? 1

Sleep disruption and sleep-disordered breathing (repetitively stopping breathing or insufficient breathing during sleep), may be important factors in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Types of sleep-disordered breathing include obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea […]


Too much of a good thing? A new role for serotonin in the human spinal cord

Serotonin is one of the “feel good” neuromodulators floating around in the central nervous system, however, it doesn’t just play a role when it comes to our mood. Serotonin plays a very important role in transmitting impulses between nerve cells. More specifically, it affects the excitability of our motoneurones, the […]


How do we maintain reaching accuracy during body movement?

When reaching for an object we must compensate for any body movement that may take the arm off-target.  For example, reaching for a handrail when standing on a bus that suddenly accelerates requires detection and compensation for body movement relative to the handrail.  A key sensory system which can detect body […]