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      The limit to exercise tolerance in humans: mind over muscle?

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          Most cited references 54

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          Exercise capacity and mortality among men referred for exercise testing.

          Exercise capacity is known to be an important prognostic factor in patients with cardiovascular disease, but it is uncertain whether it predicts mortality equally well among healthy persons. There is also uncertainty regarding the predictive power of exercise capacity relative to other clinical and exercise-test variables. We studied a total of 6213 consecutive men referred for treadmill exercise testing for clinical reasons during a mean (+/-SD) of 6.2+/-3.7 years of follow-up. Subjects were classified into two groups: 3679 had an abnormal exercise-test result or a history of cardiovascular disease, or both, and 2534 had a normal exercise-test result and no history of cardiovascular disease. Overall mortality was the end point. There were a total of 1256 deaths during the follow-up period, resulting in an average annual mortality of 2.6 percent. Men who died were older than those who survived and had a lower maximal heart rate, lower maximal systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and lower exercise capacity. After adjustment for age, the peak exercise capacity measured in metabolic equivalents (MET) was the strongest predictor of the risk of death among both normal subjects and those with cardiovascular disease. Absolute peak exercise capacity was a stronger predictor of the risk of death than the percentage of the age-predicted value achieved, and there was no interaction between the use or nonuse of beta-blockade and the predictive power of exercise capacity. Each 1-MET increase in exercise capacity conferred a 12 percent improvement in survival. Exercise capacity is a more powerful predictor of mortality among men than other established risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
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            Spinal and supraspinal factors in human muscle fatigue.

            Muscle fatigue is an exercise-induced reduction in maximal voluntary muscle force. It may arise not only because of peripheral changes at the level of the muscle, but also because the central nervous system fails to drive the motoneurons adequately. Evidence for "central" fatigue and the neural mechanisms underlying it are reviewed, together with its terminology and the methods used to reveal it. Much data suggest that voluntary activation of human motoneurons and muscle fibers is suboptimal and thus maximal voluntary force is commonly less than true maximal force. Hence, maximal voluntary strength can often be below true maximal muscle force. The technique of twitch interpolation has helped to reveal the changes in drive to motoneurons during fatigue. Voluntary activation usually diminishes during maximal voluntary isometric tasks, that is central fatigue develops, and motor unit firing rates decline. Transcranial magnetic stimulation over the motor cortex during fatiguing exercise has revealed focal changes in cortical excitability and inhibitability based on electromyographic (EMG) recordings, and a decline in supraspinal "drive" based on force recordings. Some of the changes in motor cortical behavior can be dissociated from the development of this "supraspinal" fatigue. Central changes also occur at a spinal level due to the altered input from muscle spindle, tendon organ, and group III and IV muscle afferents innervating the fatiguing muscle. Some intrinsic adaptive properties of the motoneurons help to minimize fatigue. A number of other central changes occur during fatigue and affect, for example, proprioception, tremor, and postural control. Human muscle fatigue does not simply reside in the muscle.
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              Skeletal muscle fatigue: cellular mechanisms.

              Repeated, intense use of muscles leads to a decline in performance known as muscle fatigue. Many muscle properties change during fatigue including the action potential, extracellular and intracellular ions, and many intracellular metabolites. A range of mechanisms have been identified that contribute to the decline of performance. The traditional explanation, accumulation of intracellular lactate and hydrogen ions causing impaired function of the contractile proteins, is probably of limited importance in mammals. Alternative explanations that will be considered are the effects of ionic changes on the action potential, failure of SR Ca2+ release by various mechanisms, and the effects of reactive oxygen species. Many different activities lead to fatigue, and an important challenge is to identify the various mechanisms that contribute under different circumstances. Most of the mechanistic studies of fatigue are on isolated animal tissues, and another major challenge is to use the knowledge generated in these studies to identify the mechanisms of fatigue in intact animals and particularly in human diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                European Journal of Applied Physiology
                Eur J Appl Physiol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1439-6319
                1439-6327
                July 2010
                March 11 2010
                July 2010
                : 109
                : 4
                : 763-770
                10.1007/s00421-010-1418-6
                © 2010

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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