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Mirror Neurons in Older Participants (MNOP)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03946709
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : May 13, 2019
Last Update Posted : May 13, 2019
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Matt Stock, University of Central Florida

Brief Summary:
A critical problem facing aging adults is muscle weakness. Whereas scientists have traditionally attributed the loss of muscle strength with aging to muscle atrophy, emerging evidence suggests that impairments in the neuromuscular system's ability to voluntarily generate force plays a more central role than previously appreciated. One area that has not yet been investigated includes the role that observing another's actions ‒ thereby activating mirror neurons ‒ plays in muscle force generation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the acute effects of action observation on muscular strength, voluntary muscle activation, and cortical excitability and inhibition in older adults.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Muscle Weakness Dynapenia Sarcopenia Other: Action Observation Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
A critical problem facing aging adults is muscle weakness. Whereas scientists have traditionally attributed the loss of muscle strength with aging to atrophic effects, emerging evidence suggests that impairments in the neuromuscular system's ability to voluntarily generate force plays a more central role than previously appreciated. One area that has not yet been investigated includes the role that observing another's actions ‒ thereby activating mirror neurons ‒ plays in muscle force generation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the acute effects of action observation on muscular strength, voluntary activation, and cortical excitability and inhibition in older adults. Following a thorough familiarization visit, twenty-five men and women ≥60 years of age will complete three action observation sessions in a randomized, counterbalanced manner: 1) observation of very strong hand/wrist contractions, 2) observation of very weak hand/wrist contractions, and 3) a control condition. Maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the wrist flexors will be performed before and after observation sessions. Percent voluntary activation will be determined via the interpolated twitch technique. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electromyographic (EMG) recordings from the flexor carpi radialis and first dorsal interosseous will be used to quantify cortical excitability and inhibition, via motor evoked potential amplitude and silent period duration, respectively. The hypothesis of this study is that observation of strong muscle contractions will acutely increase muscle strength, and such changes will be facilitated by enhanced corticospinal excitability and decreased inhibition. In contrast, it is hypothesized that observation of very weak contractions will cause no such efforts or even acute muscle weakness. Collectively, we propose that manipulation of mirror neurons is a worthwhile strategy for clinicians hoping to induce neuromuscular adaptations in older adults, particularly in settings where movement of a joint is painful or infeasible (e.g., bedrest or immobilization).

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 25 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Mirror Neurons in Older Participants (Project MNOP): Acute Effects of Action Observation on Muscle Strength/Weakness and Neurophysiological Factors in Older Adults
Actual Study Start Date : December 20, 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 1, 2019
Estimated Study Completion Date : January 1, 2020

Arm Intervention/treatment
Muscle strength condition Other: Action Observation
Strength, voluntary activation, and cortical responses to three conditions will be measured: 1) action observation of very strong, forceful contractions of the hand and wrist flexors 2) action observation of very weak, feeble contractions of the hand and wrist flexors 3) no action observation. Experimental conditions will be randomized and counterbalanced.

Muscle weakness condition Other: Action Observation
Strength, voluntary activation, and cortical responses to three conditions will be measured: 1) action observation of very strong, forceful contractions of the hand and wrist flexors 2) action observation of very weak, feeble contractions of the hand and wrist flexors 3) no action observation. Experimental conditions will be randomized and counterbalanced.

No Intervention: Control



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Muscle Strength [ Time Frame: 5 minutes ]
    Isometric muscle strength of the non-dominant hand and wrist flexors will be assessed during maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs).


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Voluntary Activation [ Time Frame: 5 minutes ]
    Percent voluntary activation will be quantified during the MVCs to determine each participant's ability to maximally activate their wrist flexor muscles voluntarily.

  2. Corticospinal excitability [ Time Frame: 5 minutes ]
    Transcranial magnetic stimulation will be used to quantify corticospinal excitability throughout the study.



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Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Healthy men and women ≥60 years of age

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Neuromuscular disease (e.g. Parkinson's, MS, ALS)
  • Metabolic disease (e.g. diabetes, thyroid disorder, metabolic syndrome)
  • Arthritis in the upper limbs (hands, arms, shoulders)
  • Trouble using or controlling one's muscles
  • History of cancer
  • History of stroke
  • History of heart attack
  • Use of an assistive walking device or other mobility aids
  • Physician mandated contraindication to exercise within the last 6 months
  • Epilepsy or history of convulsions/seizures
  • History of fainting or syncope
  • History of head trauma that was diagnosed as concussion or was associated with loss of consciousness
  • History of hearing problems or tinnitus
  • Cochlear implants
  • Implanted metal in the brain, skull, or elsewhere in the body
  • Implanted neurotransmitter
  • Cardiac pacemaker or intracardiac lines
  • Medication infusion device
  • Past problems with brain stimulation
  • Past problems with MRI
  • Use of muscle relaxants or benzodiazepines
  • Allergy to rubbing alcohol
  • Any other health related illnesses that would prohibit a participant from physical performance testing
  • Lack of transportation to and from the laboratory

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03946709


Contacts
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Contact: Kylie K. Harmon, M.S. (407)823-0600 kharmon@knights.ucf.edu
Contact: Ryan M. Girts (407)823-0600 ryangirts@knights.ucf.edu

Locations
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United States, Florida
UCF Neuromuscular Plasticity Laboratory Recruiting
Orlando, Florida, United States, 32826
Contact: Matt S. Stock, Ph.D.    407-823-0600    matt.stock@ucf.edu   
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Central Florida
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Matt S. Stock, Ph.D. University of Central Florida

Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: Matt Stock, Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03946709     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: SBE-18-14657
First Posted: May 13, 2019    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 13, 2019
Last Verified: May 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Sarcopenia
Muscle Weakness
Paresis
Muscular Atrophy
Neuromuscular Manifestations
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Atrophy
Pathological Conditions, Anatomical
Signs and Symptoms
Muscular Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Pathologic Processes