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  • Author: David M. Koceja x
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Richard G. Mynark and David M. Koceja

The spinal stretch reflex consists of a relatively simple neuronal network. The Ia afferent fiber of the muscle spindle communicates to the alpha motoneuron via a single synapse. This basic pathway has been studied extensively over the past century, yet considerable information continues to emerge concerning the manner in which this pathway adapts to aging. It is well accepted that the amplitude of the spinal stretch reflex declines with normal aging, and it is intuitively agreed that these changes have a detrimental impact on the motor output of aging individuals. Understanding the changes observed in the spinal stretch reflex pathway due to aging requires a recognition of the changes that can occur in each component of this spinal network. This review will address these changes by following the spinal stretch reflex from initiation to completion. The components that result in the sensory input to the motoneuron will be covered first, followed by a review of the physiological changes that can occur to the motoneuron soma that can affect the processing of the sensory input. The output of the motoneuron encompasses the remaining components from the motor axon itself, to the neuromuscular junction, and then to the characteristic changes in the muscle. Finally, the functional effect that these changes have on the reflex as a fundamental motor behavior will be addressed, especially in terms of its impact on posture and balance.

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Scott J. Pedersen, Paul R. Surburg, Matthew Heath and David M. Koceja

The purpose was to investigate central and peripheral processing mechanisms through the use of electromyography (EMG) to determine differences between the performance of children with and without ADHD on a lower extremity choice response time task. Sixteen children with ADHD were tested on and off medication along with 19 children without ADHD. For premotor time, the comparison group performed significantly faster than children with ADHD. The longer latencies exhibited in central processing of children with ADHD were related to midline crossing inhibition (MCI). Medication improved the speed of processing for children with ADHD, but did not negate MCI.

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Susan J. Massad, Nathan W. Shier, David M. Koceja and Nancy T. Ellis

Factors influencing nutritional supplement use by high school students were assessed. Comparisons were made between various groups of sports participants and non-sports participants. The Nutritional Supplement Use and Knowledge Scale was administered to 509 students. Mean supplement use score was 10.87 (SEM = 0.50, range 0-57). Mean knowledge score was 13.56 (SEM = 0.16, range 1-21). Significant relationships (p < .01) were obtained for supplement knowledge with use, and supplement use with gender. ANOVA found significant differences between supplement use by gender (p < .01), supplement use by sports category (p < .05), and knowledge scores by sports category (p < .01). Discriminant function analysis indicated knowledge, supplement use, and subscores for protein, vitamins/minerals, and carbohydrates were best discriminators of sport group membership. Greater knowledge about supplements was associated with less use; hence, education about supplements can be a deterrent to use. This study may help coaches, athletic trainers, athletic directors, teachers, physicians, and parents identify nutritional misconceptions held by adolescents.

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Behdad Tahayori, Zachary A. Riley, Armaghan Mahmoudian, David M. Koceja and Siang Lee Hong

Various studies have suggested that postural sway is controlled by at least two subsystems. Rambling-Trembling analysis is a widely accepted methodology to dissociate the signals generated by these two hypothetical subsystems. The core assumption of this method is based on the equilibrium point hypothesis which suggests that the central nervous system preserves upright standing by transiently shifting the center of pressure (COP) from one equilibrium point to another. The trajectory generated by this shifting is referred to as rambling and its difference from the original COP signal is referred to as trembling. In this study we showed that these two components of COP are differentially affected when standing with external loads. Using Detrended Fluctuation analysis, we compared the pattern of these two signals in different configurations of body loading. Our findings suggest that by applying an external load, the dynamics of the trembling component is altered independently of the area of postural sway and also independently of the rambling component. The dynamics of rambling changed only during the backloading condition in which the postural sway area also substantially increased. It can be suggested that during loaded standing, the trembling mechanism (which is suggested to be activated by peripheral mechanisms and reflexes) is altered without affecting the central influence on the shifts of the equilibrium point.