Age-Dependent Control of Shoulder Muscles During a Reach-and-Lift Task

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Aging affects fatigability and is a risk factor for incurring a fatigue-related injury in the neck/shoulder region. Age-related changes in the electromyographical features of motor control may be partly responsible. Young (N = 17) and older (N = 13) adults completed a reach-and-lift task at their self-selected speed, before and after a fatiguing task targeting the neck/shoulder. Electromyography amplitude (root mean square), amplitude variability (root mean square coefficient of variation [CV]), functional connectivity (normalized mutual information [NMI]), and functional connectivity variability (NMI CV) were extracted from several muscles and analyzed for effects and interactions of age using general estimating equation models. Root mean square CV and deltoid NMI CV increased from pre- to postfatigue (ps < .05). Upper trapezius–deltoid NMI decreased for young, but increased for older adults, while the opposite response was found for lower trapezius–deltoid NMI (ps < .05). Older adults seem to adapt to fatigue in reach-and-lift movement with a cranial shift in control of the scapula.

The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation, Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital, Laval, Quebec, Canada.

Bailey (christopher.a.bailey@mail.mcgill.ca) is corresponding author.
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