Study links women’s higher rate of ACL tears to nervous system

Interesting study:

Research at Oregon State University suggests men and women differ in how they transmit the nerve impulses that control muscle force. The finding may help explain why women are far more likely than men to blow out their knees, specifically the anterior cruciate ligaments, during non-contact activity. Answering that question could lead to training regimens that reduce the risk of injury. Although ACL tears often are repaired, there is a 15 percent chance of re-tearing, and even repaired injuries can lead to osteoarthritis…….

In addition to obvious skeletal and muscular differences between the sexes, the study of 17 male and 17 female college-age recreational athletes found men and women differ in “recurrent inhibition,” or how they transmit the nerve impulses that control muscle force. Men control nerve impulses much like athletes trained for explosive muscle usage, like sprinters. Women control nerve impulses more like athletes trained for endurance, like cross-country runners.

Explained another way, Johnson said, all movements begin with a motor command, or action potential, from the central nervous system. Within the spinal cord are a multitude of mechanisms that modulate how those commands are sent. He and his team measured several of them, including recurrent inhibition. Recurrent inhibition is most generally thought of as a regulator of motor output in that it modulates the action potential sent to the muscle.

It sounds like the medical community is finally on to something with this wretched syndrome.

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