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Int J Neurosci. 1994 Jun;76(3-4):293-303.

Modulation of the triceps surae H-reflex with training.

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Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy, Indianapolis 46202-5119.


Thirteen neurologically healthy adults were asked to balance on a specially designed balance board. This board allowed rotation in the sagittal plane only. Muscle activity of the triceps surae and tibialis anterior was sampled at 2 kHz and recorded. When the subject was balanced, soleus H-reflexes were elicited in the right leg with a constant-current stimulus pulse. The peak to peak amplitude of the soleus H-reflex served as the perturbation to the subject's balance as well as the dependent variable in question. Subjects performed three blocks (7 H-reflexes/block) of standing control trials with the balance board supported, and seven blocks of balancing trials. Prior to each block, maximal M-waves were recorded to ensure electrode stability across blocks. Results indicated that the subjects were able to significantly reduce (p < .001) the gain the soleus H-reflex while balancing and after the balance training. As a group, the subjects decreased their peak to peak amplitude of the soleus H-reflex by 26.2 percent from the initial standing block to the last balancing block. Moreover, subjects were also able to significantly reduce the gain of their standing control H-reflexes, supporting the notion of longer-term adaptability of the spinal stretch reflex. It is concluded that the progressive reduction in the H-reflex gain with short-term training may represent functional adaptation in the central nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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