spinal cord

Antidepressants help us understand why we get fatigued during exercise

In general, the term ‘fatigue’ is used to describe any exercise-induced decline in the ability of a muscle to generate force. To identify the causes of fatigue, it is common to examine two divisions of the body that might be affected during exercise. The central component of fatigue includes the […]

Strength training improves the nervous system’s ability to drive muscles 2

Imagine that the New Year has just begun. You’ve made a resolution to improve your physical fitness. In particular, you want to improve your muscle strength. You’ve heard that people with stronger muscles live longer and have less difficulty standing, walking, and using the toilet when they get older (Rantanen […]

Neural mechanisms related to the reduction in muscle force after stretching

Stretching routines are commonly performed before exercise, and they are often included in rehabilitation programs. One of the most common types of stretching is static stretching.  Static stretching involves lengthening the muscle, then holding it at a lengthened position for several seconds. For example, if you bend over to touch […]

New reflexes acting between human inspiratory muscles in able-bodied participants and those with spinal injury

Inspiratory muscle motoneurone pools are linked via many reflex connections.  These reflexes are largely inhibitory and can operate over several segments.  Much of our knowledge of these reflex connections comes from studies in animals (Marlot et al. 1988, Speck & Revelette. 1987).  In humans, we know that stimulation of the phrenic nerve […]

One session of strength training makes the spinal cord more excitable 6

Strength training consists of repetitive high-force muscle contractions.  Strength training for four weeks improves maximal strength (Carroll et al. 2011).  These strength gains are primarily the consequence of changes in the nervous system and are not simply due to an increase in muscle size (e.g., Weier et al. 2012).  In […]

More is better: an improved technique for enhancing plasticity in the human spinal cord

Repetitive pairing of stimuli to the motor cortex and peripheral nerves supplying muscles can induce plasticity at synapses between nerve cells that control voluntary muscle activity. This technique has therapeutic potential for enhancing activity at synapses that lie within the spinal cord  and transmit commands from the brain to the […]