Combined action observation and mental imagery versus neuromuscular electrical stimulation as novel therapeutics during short-term knee immobilization

Kylie K. Harmon, Ryan M. Girts, Gabriela Rodriguez, Jonathan P. Beausejour, Jason I. Pagan, Joshua C. Carr, Jeanette Garcia, Michael D. Roberts, Debbie L. Hahs-Vaughn, Jeffrey R. Stout, David H. Fukuda, Matt S. Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Limb immobilization causes rapid declines in muscle strength and mass. Given the role of the nervous system in immobilization-induced weakness, targeted interventions may be able to preserve muscle strength, but not mass, and vice versa. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of two distinct interventions during 1 week of knee joint immobilization on muscle strength (isometric and concentric isokinetic peak torque), mass (bioimpedance spectroscopy and ultrasonography), and neuromuscular function (transcranial magnetic stimulation and interpolated twitch technique). Thirty-nine healthy, college-aged adults (21 males, 18 females) were randomized into one of four groups: immobilization only (n = 9), immobilization + action observation/mental imagery (AOMI) (n = 10), immobilization + neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) (n = 12), or control group (n = 8). The AOMI group performed daily video observation and mental imagery of knee extensions. The NMES group performed twice daily stimulation of the quadriceps femoris. Based on observed effect sizes, it appears that AOMI shows promise as a means of preserving voluntary strength, which may be modulated by neural adaptations. Strength increased from PRE to POST in the AOMI group, with +7.2% (Cohen's d = 1.018) increase in concentric isokinetic peak torque at 30°/s. However, NMES did not preserve muscle mass. Though preliminary, our findings highlight the specific nature of clinical interventions and suggest that muscle strength can be independently targeted during rehabilitation. This study was prospectively registered: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05072652.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental Physiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • corticospinal
  • disuse atrophy
  • muscle mass
  • nervous system
  • rehabilitation
  • strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Combined action observation and mental imagery versus neuromuscular electrical stimulation as novel therapeutics during short-term knee immobilization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this