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1.  Child–adult differences in the kinetics of torque development 
Journal of sports sciences  2013;31(9):945-953.
Children have lower size-normalised maximal voluntary force, speed, and power than adults. It has been hypothesised that these and other age-related performance differences are due to lesser type-II motor-unit utilisation in children. This should be manifested as slower force kinetics in explosive muscle contractions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of child–adult force-kinetics differences and whether the latter could support that hypothesis. Untrained boys (n = 20) and men (n = 20) (10.1 ± 1.3 and 22.9 ± 4.4 years, respectively), performed maximal, explosive, isometric elbow flexions and knee extensions on a Biodex dynamometer. Peak torque (MVC), times to 10–100% MVC, and other kinetics parameters were determined. The boys’ body-mass-normalised knee extension MVC, peak rate of torque development, and %MVC at 100 ms were 26, 17 and 23% lower compared with the men and their times to 30% and 80% MVC were 24 and 48% longer, respectively. Elbow flexion kinetics showed similar or greater differences. The findings illuminate boys’ inherent disadvantage in tasks requiring speed or explosive force. It is demonstrated that the extent of the boys–men kinetics disparity cannot be explained by muscle-composition and/or musculo-tendinous-stiffness differences. We suggest therefore that the findings indirectly support children’s lower utilisation of type-II motor units.
PMCID: PMC3804465  PMID: 23320937 CAMSID: cams3450
children; force; muscle; rate of force development; strength
2.  Child—Adult Differences in Muscle Activation — A Review 
Pediatric exercise science  2012;24(1):2-21.
Children differ from adults in many muscular performance attributes such as size-normalized strength and power, endurance, fatigability and the recovery from exhaustive exercise, to name just a few. Metabolic attributes, such as glycolytic capacity, substrate utilization, and VO2 kinetics also differ markedly between children and adults. Various factors, such as dimensionality, intramuscular synchronization, agonist-antagonist coactivation, level of volitional activation, or muscle composition, can explain some, but not all of the observed differences. It is hypothesized that, compared with adults, children are substantially less capable of recruiting or fully employing their higher-threshold, type-II motor units. The review presents and evaluates the wealth of information and possible alternative factors in explaining the observations. Although conclusive evidence is still lacking, only this hypothesis of differential motor-unit activation in children and adults, appears capable of accounting for all observed child—adult differences, whether on its own or in conjunction with other factors.
PMCID: PMC3804466  PMID: 22433260 CAMSID: cams3451
3.  Rate of Muscle Activation in Power- and Endurance-Trained Boys 
Previous studies in adults have demonstrated power athletes as having greater muscle force and muscle activation than nonathletes. Findings on endurance athletes are scarce and inconsistent. No comparable data on child athletes exist.
This study compared peak torque (Tq), peak rate of torque development (RTD), and rate of muscle activation (EMG rise, Q30), in isometric knee extension (KE) and flexion (KF), in pre- and early-pubertal power- and endurance-trained boys vs minimally active nonathletes.
Nine gymnasts, 12 swimmers, and 18 nonathletes (7–12 y), performed fast, maximal isometric KE and KF. Values for Tq, RTD, electromechanical delay (EMD), and Q30 were calculated from averaged torque and surface EMG traces.
No group differences were observed in Tq, normalized for muscle cross-sectional area. The Tq-normalized KE RTD was highest in power athletes (6.2 ± 1.9, 4.7 ± 1.2, 5.0 ± 1.5 N·m·s−1, for power, endurance, and nonathletes, respectively), whereas no group differences were observed for KF. The KE Q30 was significantly greater in power athletes, both in absolute terms and relative to peak EMG amplitude (9.8 ± 7.0, 5.9 ± 4.2, 4.4 ± 2.2 mV·ms and 1.7 ± 0.8, 1.1 ± 0.6, 0.9 ± 0.5 (mV·ms)/(mV) for power, endurance, and nonathletes, respectively), with no group differences in KF. The KE EMD tended to be shorter (P = .07) in power athletes during KE (71.0 ± 24.1, 87.8 ± 18.0, 88.4 ± 27.8 ms, for power, endurance, and nonathletes), with no group differences in KF.
Pre- and early-pubertal power athletes have enhanced rate of muscle activation in specifically trained muscles compared with controls or endurance athletes, suggesting that specific training can result in muscle activation-pattern changes before the onset of puberty.
PMCID: PMC3804467  PMID: 21487153 CAMSID: cams3452
athletes; children; EMG; exercise; strength; training
4.  Do neuromuscular adaptations occur in endurance-trained boys and men? 
Most research on the effects of endurance training has focused on endurance training’s health-related benefits and metabolic effects in both children and adults. The purpose of this study was to examine the neuromuscular effects of endurance training and to investigate whether they differ in children (9.0–12.9 years) and adults (18.4–35.6 years). Maximal isometric torque, rate of torque development (RTD), rate of muscle activation (Q30), electromechanical delay (EMD), and time to peak torque and peak RTD were determined by isokinetic dynamometry and surface electromyography (EMG) in elbow and knee flexion and extension. The subjects were 12 endurance-trained and 16 untrained boys, and 15 endurance-trained and 20 untrained men. The adults displayed consistently higher peak torque, RTD, and Q30, in both absolute and normalized values, whereas the boys had longer EMD (64.7 ± 17.1 vs. 56.6 ± 15.4 ms) and time to peak RTD (98.5 ± 32.1 vs. 80.4 ± 15.0 ms for boys and men, respectively). Q30, normalized for peak EMG amplitude, was the only observed training effect (1.95 ± 1.16 vs. 1.10 ± 0.67 ms for trained and untrained men, respectively). This effect could not be shown in the boys. The findings show normalized muscle strength and rate of activation to be lower in children compared with adults, regardless of training status. Because the observed higher Q30 values were not matched by corresponding higher performance measures in the trained men, the functional and discriminatory significance of Q30 remains unclear. Endurance training does not appear to affect muscle strength or rate of force development in either men or boys.
PMCID: PMC3804468  PMID: 20725113 CAMSID: cams3453
children; EMG; exercise; strength; swimming; training
5.  The Substructure of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus: Similarities between Nocturnal and Diurnal Spiny Mice 
Brain, Behavior and Evolution  2010;75(1):9-22.
Evolutionary transitions between nocturnal and diurnal patterns of adaptation to the day-night cycle must have involved fundamental changes in the neural mechanisms that coordinate the daily patterning of activity, but little is known about how these mechanisms differ. One reason is that information on these systems in very closely related diurnal and nocturnal species is lacking. In this study, we characterize the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the primary brain structure involved in the generation and coordination of circadian rhythms, in two members of the genus Acomys with very different activity patterns, Acomys russatus (the golden spiny mouse, diurnal) and Acomys cahirinus (the common spiny mouse, nocturnal). Immunohistochemical techniques were used to label cell bodies containing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), vasopressin (VP), gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and calbindin (CalB) in the SCN, as well as two sets of inputs to it, those containing serotonin (5-HT) and neuropeptide Y (NPY), respectively. All were present in the SCN of both species and no differences between them were seen. On the basis of neuronal phenotype, the SCN was organized into three basic regions that contained VIP-immunoreactive (-ir), CalB-ir and VP-ir cells, in the ventral, middle and dorsal SCN, respectively. In the rostral SCN, GRP-ir cells were in both the VIP and the CalB cell regions, and in the caudal area they were distributed across a portion of each of the other three regions. Fibers containing NPY-ir and serotonin (5-HT)-ir were most concentrated in the areas containing VIP-ir and CalB-ir cells, respectively. The details of the spatial relationships among the labeled cells and fibers seen here are discussed in relation to different approaches investigators have taken to characterize the SCN more generally.
PMCID: PMC2914397  PMID: 20134153
Suprachiasmatic nucleus; Nocturnal; Diurnal; Acomys; Serotonin; Vasopressin; Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide; Calbindin; Gastrin-releasing peptide; Neuropeptide Y

Results 1-5 (5)