Effect of mental fatigue on induced tremor in human knee extensors

Francesco Budini, Madeleine Lowery, Rade Durbaba, Giuseppe de Vito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, the effects of mental fatigue on mechanically induced tremor at both a low (3-6Hz) and high (8-12Hz) frequency were investigated. The two distinct tremor frequencies were evoked using two springs of different stiffness, during 20s sustained contractions of the knee extensor muscles at 30% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) before and after 100min of a mental fatigue task, in 12 healthy (29±3.7years) participants. Mental fatigue resulted in a 6.9% decrease in MVC and in a 9.4% decrease in the amplitude of the agonist muscle EMG during sustained 30% MVC contractions in the induced high frequency only. Following the mental fatigue task, the coefficient of variation and standard deviation of the force signal decreased at 8-12Hz induced tremor by 31.7% and 35.2% respectively, but not at 3-6Hz induced tremor. Similarly, the maximum value and area underneath the peak in the power spectrum of the force signal decreased by 55.5% and 53.1% respectively in the 8-12Hz range only. In conclusion, mental fatigue decreased mechanically induced 8-12Hz tremor and had no effect on induced 3-6Hz tremor. We suggest that the reduction could be attributed to the decreased activation of the agonist muscles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-418
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


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