European population is aging rapidly and yet older persons are continuing to be physically active to their late decades. This trend is also starting to generate gender-based differences in various sports injuries. These differences have been linked to gender based variations in skeletomuscular reflexes that influence the stability of the joints.
It has been claimed that females in general have more yielding tendons, which makes their joints less stable. Males are advantaged with their stronger stretch reflexes, which make their tendons less yielding and hence joints more stable. Although the above claim sounds reasonable, there are 3 main reasons for studying these reflexes again.
Firstly, the number of studies supporting the above view is only a handful and other studies claim completely opposite results. Secondly, the classical techniques that are used to study reflexes to date have recently been proven to contain significant errors. Thirdly, the research on gender-based reflexes is mostly performed in non-European countries.
The current proposal is an innovative and interdisciplinary project with the following aims:
- to confirm a newly developed methodology, frequency based analysis, which has been proven to be superior to the currently available methods for determining human reflexes by a prominent scientist in a world class EU laboratory;
- to determine whether there is a genuine gender based difference in reflex responses and whether these differences vary through the lifespan of individuals;
- to advise researchers and general public on possible gender differences in reflex activity and the prophylactic strategies involved in late age physical activity that can be beneficial to the older population.
These aims will be accomplished through work packages to examine the reflex response of several muscles in human volunteers of both genders. Training through structured educational programmes as well as through research will constitute a major focus of the proposal.
Call for proposal
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