Keep an eye on exercise supervision

As we get older, we lose muscle size and strength and become more vulnerable to injury (de Souto Barreto 2009; Fried et al. 2005). Each year, 1 in 3 individuals over 65 has a fall (Yoshida 2007), which often leads to fractures, hospital admissions and mortality. Strength and balance exercise […]


What happens to our nerves during fatiguing exercise? 2

Motoneurones are nerve cells in the spinal cord that, when they fire, enable us to make muscle contractions and perform movements. Right now, for example, the motoneurones that control your eye muscles are firing as you move your eyes to read this text.   When we exercise or perform strenuous […]


Plasticity of lower-limb motoneurons after spinal cord injury

Several neuromodulatory strategies have been used to improve leg function in individuals with spinal cord injury. These strategies include: electrical stimulation of the lumbar spinal cord (Harkema et al. 2011), operant conditioning of spinal reflexes (Thompson et al. 2013), and magnetic stimulation of a part of the brain that controls […]


Spinal cord plasticity: getting to the how of the matter

It is well known that the nervous system is capable of change. One way that change occurs is through the strengthening or weakening of connections between nerve cells; a process termed synaptic plasticity. In the laboratory, we can produce synaptic changes using stimulation techniques that activate various parts of the […]


Prof Rob Herbert selects his “Paper of the Year” for 2017

People who have had a stroke may develop disabling spasticity and contracture. In the upper limb, spasticity and contracture sometime manifest as a characteristic postural deformity: in standing, the relaxed arm is held with the shoulder adducted and internally rotated, the elbow flexed and pronated, and the wrist and fingers […]


Prof Simon Gandevia selects his “Paper of the Year” for 2017

How do we learn things? Sometimes learning occurs over many trials but other times it occurs after single episodes. The traditional view of learning has invoked Hebbian plasticity (Hebb 1949). Here, the concept is that “neurones that wire together, fire together”. Enhanced firing of a post-synaptic cell is thought to […]


Pain education increases pain thresholds after exercise

In people with chronic pain, the interactions between exercise and pain are complex. On one hand, regular exercise may be one of the most effective treatments because it consistently improves pain, function and quality of life (Geneen et al., 2017). On the other hand, a single session of exercise, such […]