Dr. Sandra Hunter, associate professor of exercise physiology, has received a $411,000 grant award from the National Institute of Aging. This proposal, Neuromuscular Fatigue: Age and Sex Differences, examines cognitive demand and genetic factors that can contribute to greater age-related neuromuscular fatigue and pain during static sustained postural fatiguing contractions of the upper limb. Sustained postural contractions are essential for daily and ergonomic tasks and increased neuromuscular fatigue places older women at greater risk of musculoskeletal injury and pain. Dr. Hunter's study targets older adults who are genetically at risk of accelerated motor and cognitive decline (Apolipoprotein-E ε4 allele positive) in order to identify healthy but subclinical older adults who are vulnerable to neuromuscular fatigue and pain when cognitive demand is imposed. The results will significantly impact treatment approaches to musculoskeletal disorders and pain and rehabilitation in an aging workforce.
Read about Dr. Hunter's other fatigue-related work in the 2011 issue of DISCOVER: Marquette University Research and Scholarship.