A comparison of adductor pollicis fatigue in older men and women
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Sex differences in fatigue resistance of the adductor pollicis (AP) muscle were studied in 24 older adults who were divided into three groups: 12 older men (69.8 +/- 4.60 years), 6 older women not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (70.2 +/- 4.02 years), and 6 older women on HRT (68.7 +/- 6.47 years). Fatigue in the AP muscle was induced using an intermittent (5 s contraction, 5 s rest) submaximal voluntary contraction (50% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)) protocol, which was continued until exhaustion (i.e., when subjects could either no longer maintain a 5-s contraction at 50% MVC or when the MVC was deemed to be lower than the target force). There was no effect of HRT on MVC or time to fatigue (TTF); therefore, the older women were pooled as one subject group. At baseline, men were stronger than women for MVC (75.9 +/- 18.8 N in men vs. 56.8 +/- 10.0 N in women; P < 0.05) and evoked twitch force (7.3 +/- 1.7 N in men vs. 5.2 +/- 0.8 N in women; P < 0.05). There was no difference in TTF between men and women (14.77 +/- 7.06 min in men vs. 11.53 +/- 4.91 min in women; P > 0.20), nor was there a significant relationship between baseline muscle force and TTF (r = 0.14). There was also no difference in the pattern of fatigue and recovery between the men and women. These results suggest that there is no difference in endurance or fatigue characteristics of the AP muscle in men and women over the age of 65 years, and that baseline muscle force does not predict fatigue resistance in this muscle.
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