Assessment of nervous system behaviour in relation to force steadiness

Take part in a study testing the affect of different types of muscle contractions on the nervous system.

  • Wednesday 21st June 2017 12:00 (1 hour, 30 mins)
  • Research Participant
  • Participate

The date given above is the deadline for registering your interest and not the date of the study. Appointments will be arranged between the researcher and the participant.

This study is examining differences in the behaviour of the central nervous system between young and older individuals during different types of muscle contractions in relation to force steadiness.

Understanding force steadiness is important for populations exhibiting greater force fluctuations such as the elderly and individuals with certain neuropathological states.

In these populations, the degree of force fluctuations may influence their ability to perform daily activities (e.g. greater force fluctuations have been linked to greater incidence of falls). 


The aim of this study is to allow the researcher to understand the underlying mechanisms of force fluctuations and subsequently develop effective strategies to improve force steadiness, particularly for older individuals.

Volunteer Criteria

Participants must be aged 60 or over.

Participants cannot take part in the study if:

  • diagnosed with a neurological disorder, i.e. epilepsy
  • diagnosed with a brain disorder such as Parkinson's disease
  • have had a stroke
  • currently have any metal objects in their head
  • taking any medications known to affect neuronal conduction
  • have a pacemaker
  • had had heart surgery
  • currently have any limiting musculoskeletal injuries particularly of the lower limbs
  • have osteoarthritis

What will I be asked to do?

Participants will be asked to visit the lab on 3 separate occasions. Each session will last approximately 1.5 hours and there will be at least 48 hours between each visit.

During each visit participants will perform maximal and submaximal muscle contractions whilst sitting on a chair designed to measure the force output. Participants will be asked to perform different types of contractions: lengthening, shortening and isometric at different intensities.

To record the activity from the muscles, participants' lower legs will be shaved and prepared with abrasive gel and electrodes taped to the skin.

To test the behaviour of the nervous system, participants will receive a painless stimulation to the top of their head or to their skin over a nerve.

You will remain in the chair for 1.5 hours with breaks when or if you become fatigued.

When & where?

Appointments will be arranged between the researcher and the participant.

The study will take place at the Biomechanics Laboratory at Northumbria University.

Will I get anything for taking part?

 Participants will receive a £25 gift voucher for taking part.


  • Biomechanics Laboratory, Sport Central
  • Northumbria University
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE1 8QD


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