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Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy:

Gamma Loop Dysfunction of the Quadriceps Femoris of Elderly Patients Hospitalized after Fall Injury

Konishi, Yu PhD1,2; Kasukawa, Takahumi PT2; Tobita, Hideki PT2; Nishino, Akie MS3; Konishi, Mina Ns4

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Background and Purpose: Gamma loop dysfunction may increase the risk of falls. Therefore, we evaluated gamma loop function in subjects hospitalized after fall injury and examined whether aging affects the gamma loop.

Methods: Maximal voluntary contraction (strength) of knee extension and integrated electromyography (I‐EMG) of the quadriceps femoris were examined to evaluate the activities of alpha motoneurons before and after 20‐min vibration applied to the quadriceps femoris. Mean percentage changes were calculated as: (previbration value‐postvibration value)/previbration value×100). As strength and I‐EMG of both uninjured (UG) and injured limbs (IG) of patients with a history of falls resulting in hospitalization were examined in each group, the mean percentage changes of the 4 groups were compared with those of controls [young control group (YCG) and elderly control group (ECG)].

Results: Mean percentage changes in strength of UG and IG were significantly different from YCG but not the ECG. Mean percentage changes in I‐EMG for VL (vastus lateralis) and VM (vastus medialis)in IG were significantly different from YCG. However, I‐EMG of RF of IG were not significantly different from YCG. Although mean percentage changes in I‐EMG of UG were not significantly different from ECG, those for VL and VM of IG were different from ECG.

Conclusions: As the gamma loop dysfunction exited in the uninjured limbs of subjects with a history of falls resulting in hospitalization, a dysfunctional gamma loop could be a risk factor for falling. Further studies are needed to identify the effects of aging on gamma loop function.

Copyright © 2007 the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association


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