Neurophysiological Mechanisms of Strength Gain: Revealed using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Elderly subjects will have higher inhibition and lower facilitation than young subjects. Mental imagery training in elderly will enlarge the motor map.
TMS was used to evaluate facilitatory and inhibitory mechanisms in
elderly and young subjects. TMS was also used to evaluate the motor map following mental imagery strengthening.
Aging leads to weakened facilitatory mechanisms and exaggerated inhibitory mechanisms of the motor cortex leading to a reduction in voluntary muscle strength. Mental imagery training can increase motor cortex excitability and enlarge the motor map. An enlarged motor map would allow for greater biceps strength by allowing for the recruitment of more corticospinal pathways and motor units. Mental imagery may offer a useful rehabilitative alternative for impaired individuals.