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1.  Exercise Reveals the Interrelation of Physical Fitness, Inflammatory Response, Psychopathology, and Autonomic Function in Patients With Schizophrenia 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2012;39(5):1139-1149.
Maintaining and improving fitness are associated with a lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease. Patients with schizophrenia are known to exercise less and have poorer health behaviors than average. Physical fitness and physiological regulation during exercise tasks have not been investigated to date among patients with schizophrenia. We studied autonomic modulation in a stepwise exhaustion protocol in 23 patients with schizophrenia and in matched controls, using spirometry and lactate diagnostics. Parameters of physical capacity were determined at the aerobic, anaerobic, and vagal thresholds (VT), as well as for peak output. VT was correlated with psychopathology, as assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, with the inflammatory markers IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α and with peak output. The MANOVA for heart and breathing rates, as well as for vagal modulation and complexity behavior of heart rate, indicated a profound lack of vagal modulation at all intensity levels, even after the covariate carbon monoxide concentration was introduced as a measure of smoking behavior. Significantly decreased physical capacity was demonstrated at the aerobic, anaerobic, and VT in patients. After the exercise task, reduced vagal modulation in patients correlated negatively with positive symptoms and with levels of IL-6 and TNF-α. This study shows decreased physical capacity in patients with schizophrenia. Upcoming intervention studies need to take into account the autonomic imbalance, which might predispose patients to arrhythmias during exercise. Results of inflammatory parameters are suggestive of a reduced activity of the anti-inflammatory cholinergic pathway in patients, leading to a pro-inflammatory state.
doi:10.1093/schbul/sbs085
PMCID: PMC3756770  PMID: 22966149
heart rate; physical exercise; respiration; schizophrenia; vagal threshold; cardiac death; inflammation; physical fitness
2.  Correct, Fake and Absent Pre-Information Does Not Affect the Occurrence and Magnitude of the Bilateral Force Deficit 
The present study examined whether different pre-information conditions could lead to a volitional modulation of the occurrence and magnitude of the bilateral force deficit (BFD) during isometric leg press. Twenty trained male adults (age: 24.5 ± 1.7 years; weight: 77.5 ± 7.1 kg; height: 1.81 ± 0.05 m) were examined on three days within a week. Isometric leg press was performed on a negatively inclined leg press slide. Each participant completed three maximal isometric strength test sessions with different pre-information conditions given in a graphical chart: no pre-information (NPI; first day), false pre-information (FPI; bilateral force > sum of unilateral forces; second or third day) and correct pre-information (CPI; bilateral force < sum of unilateral forces; second or third day) during bilateral, unilateral-left and unilateral-right leg-press. The sum of left- and right-sided force values were calculated for bilateral (FBL = FBL_left + FBL_right) and unilateral (FUL = FUL_left + FUL_right) analyses. Force data for NPI revealed: Mean (SD): FUL_NPI = 3023 N (435) vs. FBL_NPI = 2812 (453); FPI showed FUL_FPI = 3013 N (459) vs. FBL_FPI = 2843 (446) and the CPI revealed FUL_CPI = 3035 (425) vs. FBL_CPI = 2844 (385). The three (no, false, correct) x 2 (FUL, FBL) rANOVA revealed a high significant main effect of Force (F = 61.82, p < 0.001). No significant main effect of the factor Condition and no significant interaction between Force x Condition was observed. The BFD does not rely on the trueness of the given pre-information (no, false, correct). Cognition-based volitional influences on the BFD on supra-spinal level seem negligible.
Key pointsBFD is reliable occurring phenomenonAvailable theoretical knowledge does not affect the BFDAlternating sport should include alternating strength exercises
PMCID: PMC3990902  PMID: 24790502
Bilateral force deficit; strength training; lower extremities; unilateral strength
3.  Alteration of synergistic muscle activity following neuromuscular electrical stimulation of one muscle 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(5):640-646.
The aim of the study was to determine muscle activation of the m. triceps surae during maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) following neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) of the m. gastrocnemius lateralis (GL). The participants (n = 10) performed three MVC during pretest, posttest, and recovery, respectively. Subsequent to the pretest, the GL was stimulated by NMES. During MVC, force and surface electromyography (EMG) of the GL, m. gastrocnemius medialis (GM), and m. soleus (SOL) were measured. NMES of GL induced no significant decline (3%) in force. EMG activity of the GL decreased significantly to 81% (P < 0.05), whereas EMG activity of the synergistic SOL increased to 112% (P < 0.01). The GM (103%, P = 1.00) remained unaltered. Decreased EMG activity in the GL was most likely caused by failure of the electrical propagation at its muscle fiber membrane. The decline of EMG activity in GL was compensated by increased EMG activity of SOL during MVC. It is suggested that these compensatory effects are caused by central contributions induced by NMES.
doi:10.1002/brb3.87
PMCID: PMC3489816  PMID: 23139909
Neuromuscular control; NMES; synergistic muscles; triceps surae

Results 1-3 (3)