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Reliability and validity of 30-15 intermittent fitness test for cardiorespiratory fitness assessment among infantry members of Slovenian armed forces : ǂa ǂstudy protocol
Armin Paravlić, Boštjan Šimunič, Rado Pišot, Samo Rauter, Janez Vodičar, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Introduction: Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) testing is routinely performed by most armed and tactical forces around the world as part of their recruitment process for new members or simply as an annual examination of their personnel. A 2-mile run (2MR) test is among the most commonly used. However, as it is performed outdoors, weather, climate, and terrain can influence the results and often limit the maximum performance. Also, this test has been shown to be difficult for individuals because the pacing strategy is self-paced. As such, it does not reflect the real situation on the battlefield, where most activities are externally driven by the environment and the enemy. Therefore, we believe that the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15IFT) may be a suitable tool for measuring CRF and battle readiness of military personnel. Moreover, given the importance of visual attention to military personnel we aim to investigate the differences in visual attention between better and less physically prepared infantry members and its corresponding response to maximal endurance running test. Methods and analysis: This randomized cross-over study using a within-subjects test-retest design will enroll 32 infantry members of the Slovenian Armed Forces. To investigate the reliability and validity of the 30-15IFT test, an incremental treadmill test (TR), a 2MR test, and two identical 30-15IFT will be performed in randomized order. Additionally, participants will be subsequently divided into two groups based on their score on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), whereas differences in visual attention will be assessed by using the d2 test. The primary analysis will assess differences in key physiological outcomes between the different CRF tests (TR vs. 2MR vs. 30-15IFT). In addition, the relative reliability of all dependent variables between two 30-15IFT trials will be estimated by interclass correlation coefficient (ICC), while relationship between maximal oxygen uptake, heart rate and maximal running speed of 30-15IFT, TR and 2MR will be assessed using Pearson’s correlation.
Keywords: Slovenian armed forces, running endurance, visual attention, cardiorespiratory fitness assessment, intermittent fitness tests, reliability, validation
Published in DiRROS: 27.07.2022; Views: 52; Downloads: 36
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A data-driven machine learning approach for brain-computer interfaces targeting lower limb neuroprosthetics
Arnau Dillen, Elke Lathouwers, Aleksandar Miladinović, Uroš Marušič, Fakhredinne Ghaffari, Olivier Romain, Romain Meeusen, Kevin De Pauw, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Prosthetic devices that replace a lost limb have become increasingly performant in recent years. Recent advances in both software and hardware allow for the decoding of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals to improve the control of active prostheses with brain-computer interfaces (BCI). Most BCI research is focused on the upper body. Although BCI research for the lower extremities has increased in recent years, there are still gaps in our knowledge of the neural patterns associated with lower limb movement. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to show the feasibility of decoding lower limb movements from EEG data recordings. The second aim is to investigate whether well-known neuroplastic adaptations in individuals with an amputation have an influence on decoding performance. To address this, we collected data from multiple individuals with lower limb amputation and a matched able-bodied control group. Using these data, we trained and evaluated common BCI methods that have already been proven effective for upper limb BCI. With an average test decoding accuracy of 84% for both groups, our results show that it is possible to discriminate different lower extremity movements using EEG data with good accuracy. There are no significant differences (p = 0.99) in the decoding performance of these movements between healthy subjects and subjects with lower extremity amputation. These results show the feasibility of using BCI for lower limb prosthesis control and indicate that decoding performance is not influenced by neuroplasticity-induced differences between the two groups.
Keywords: neuroprosthetics, brain-computer interface, machine learning, electroencephalography, data-driven learning, lower limb amputation
Published in DiRROS: 21.07.2022; Views: 68; Downloads: 36
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The effect of menstrual cycle on perceptual responses in athletes : a systematic review with meta-analysis
Ana Carolina Paludo, Armin Paravlić, Kristýna Dvořáková, Marta Gimunová, 2022, review article

Abstract: This article aimed to investigate the effects of menstrual cycle phases on perceptual responses in athletes by means of systematic review and meta-analysis. The search was conducted in the PubMed, Web of Science, and Sport Discus databases considering articles with two or more menstrual phases for comparison. The PECO criteria were used for the keywords “menstrual cycle,” “athletes,” and “perceptual responses” with their respective entry terms. Of 1.165 records identified, 14 articles were available for the final evaluation, while eight articles were eligible for a meta-analysis. The perceptual responses evaluated in the studies were: motivation, competitiveness, sleep quality, stress, muscle soreness, fatigue, perceived effort, mood, menstrual symptoms, perceived endurance, and readiness. The meta-analysis was conducted for perceived effort only. The results showed that the level of perceived exertion does not differ two phases of the menstrual cycle (MD = 3.03, Q = 1.58, df = 1, p = 0.209), whereas RPE was 19.81 ± 0.05 and 16.27 ± 0.53 at day 1–5 and day 19–24, respectively. Two studies found statistically significant changes in motivation and competitiveness during the cycle, with better outcomes in ovulatory phase compared to follicular and luteal. One study found an increase in mood disturbance in the pre-menstrual phase (vs. mid-cycle); one decreased vigor in the menstrual phase (vs. luteal); one increased the menstrual symptoms in the follicular phase (vs. ovulation), and one study reported increased fatigue and decreased sleep quality on luteal phase (vs. follicular). The remaining studies and variables were not affected by the menstrual cycle phase. Based on the results from the studies selected, some perceptual responses are affected in different menstrual cycle phases. A “favorable” subjective response in athletes was noticed when the ovarian hormones present an increase in concentration levels compared to phases with lower concentration. Different perceptual variables and methodological approaches limit the generalization of the conclusion.
Keywords: athletes, female, behavior, menstrual cycle, hormones, perceptual responses
Published in DiRROS: 19.07.2022; Views: 46; Downloads: 42
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Let's (Tik) Talk About Fitness Trends
Valdemar Štajer, Ivana Milovanović, Nikola Todorović, Marijana Ranisavljev, Saša Pišot, Patrik Drid, 2022, review article

Abstract: Several factors that follow the development of society affect physical inactivity, which primarily includes the development of technology and digitalization and the increasing choice of unhealthy lifestyle habits. However, certain shifts in the fitness industry have been noted in the last decade. The development of wearable technologies and artificial intelligence is one of the leading fitness trends and undoubtedly represents the future of the fitness industry. On the other hand, the significant influence of social media and networks affects the development and attitudes of people related to physical activity. Therefore, this review paper evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of wearable technologies and artificial intelligence, the positive and negative effects of social networks, and points out the problems accompanying these new fitness trends. The development of fitness trends follows humanity’s needs, and one of the biggest challenges is incorporating these novelties in a mission to improve physical activity levels worldwide.
Keywords: modern technologies, social media, social networking platform, physical activity, wearable technologies
Published in DiRROS: 13.07.2022; Views: 57; Downloads: 27
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Irisin attenuates muscle impairment during bed rest through muscle-adipose tissue crosstalk
Andrea D'Amuri, Juana Maria Sanz, Stefano Lazzer, Rado Pišot, Boštjan Šimunič, Gianni Biolo, Giovanni Zuliani, Mladen Gasparini, Marco Vincenzo Narici, Bruno Grassi, Carlo Reggiani, Edoardo Dalla Nora, Angelina Passaro, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Simple Summary: Irisin is a known myokine secreted mainly by the muscle that is produced after physical activity. It induces browning in the adipose tissue with a consequent increase in mitochondrial oxidation of lipids and reduction of insulin resistance; thus, it has been hypothesized that irisin was the molecule mediating most of the beneficial effects related to exercise on adipose tissue and consequently on the whole organism. In our study we observed that extreme physical inactivity induces the loss of muscle mass and function, and an increase in the body adipose tissue as expected. However, of note, circulating irisin levels were increased secondary to enhanced irisin synthesis mainly from adipose tissue rather than muscle. In addition, subjects who produced more irisin had reduced muscle impairment. Therefore, our hypothesis is that there is negative feedback within the muscle-adipose tissue crosstalk, specifically not only does the muscle influence the adipose tissue through irisin during exercise, but also the adipose tissue protects the muscle during inactivity.Abstract: The detrimental effect of physical inactivity on muscle characteristics are well known. Irisin, an exercise-induced myokine cleaved from membrane protein fibronectin type III domain-containing protein-5 (FNDC5), mediates at least partially the metabolic benefits of exercise. This study aimed to assess the interplay between prolonged inactivity, circulating irisin, muscle performance, muscle fibers characteristics, as well as the FNDC5 gene expression (FNDC5ge) in muscle and adipose tissue among healthy subjects. Twenty-three healthy volunteers were tested before and after 14 days of Bed Rest, (BR). Post-BR circulating levels of irisin significantly increased, whereas body composition, muscle performance, and muscle fiber characteristics deteriorated. Among the subjects achieving the highest post-BR increase of irisin, the lowest reduction in maximal voluntary contraction and specific force of Fiber Slow/1, the highest increase of FNDC5ge in adipose tissue, and no variation of FNDC5ge in skeletal muscle were recorded. Subjects who had the highest FNDC5ge in adipose tissue but not in muscle tissue showed the highest circulating irisin levels and could better withstand the harmful effect of BR.
Keywords: physical inactivity, bed rest, FNDC5 gene expression, myokines, sarcopenia, muscles fiber
Published in DiRROS: 07.07.2022; Views: 91; Downloads: 57
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A methodological proposal for the climate change risk assessment of coastal habitats based on the evaluation of ecosystem services : lessons learnt from the INTERREG project ECO-SMART
Alberto Barausse, Cécil J. W. Meulenberg, Irene Occhipinti, Marco Abordi, Lara Endrizzi, Giovanna Guadagnin, Mirco Piron, Francesca Visintin, Liliana Vižintin, Alessandro Manzardo, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Climate change is seriously impacting coastal biodiversity and the benefits it provides to humans. This issue is particularly relevant in the case of the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of areas for nature protection, where the sensitivity of local ecosystems calls for intervention to increase resistance and resilience to climate-related risks. Given the complex ways in which climate can influence conservation hotspot areas, there is a need to develop effective strategic approaches and general operational models to identify priorities for management and inform adaptation and mitigation measures. Here, a novel methodological proposal to perform climate risk assessment in Natura 2000 sites is presented that implements the systematic approach of ISO 14090 in combination with the theoretical framework of ecosystem services assessment and local stakeholder participation to identify climate-related issues for local protected habitats and improve the knowledge base needed to plan sustainable conservation and restoration measures. The methodology was applied to five Natura 2000 sites located along the Adriatic coast of Italy and Slovenia. Results show that each of the assessed sites, despite being along the coast of the same sea, is affected by different climate-related issues, impacting different habitats and corresponding ecosystem services. This novel methodology enables a simple and rapid screening for the prioritization of conservation actions and of the possible further investigations needed to support decision making, and was found to be robust and of general applicability. These findings highlight the importance of designing site-specific adaptation measures, tailored to address the peculiar response to climate change of each site in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Keywords: ecosystem, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation, nature conservation, sustainability, coastal management
Published in DiRROS: 01.07.2022; Views: 85; Downloads: 59
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Impact of motor-cognitive interventions on selected gait and balance outcomes in older adults : ǂa ǂsystematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Kaja Teraž, Luka Šlosar, Armin Paravlić, Eling D. de Bruin, Uroš Marušič, 2022, review article

Abstract: Background: Efficient performance of most daily activities requires intact and simultaneous execution of motor and cognitive tasks. To mitigate age-related functional decline, various combinations of motor and cognitive training have shown promising results. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was to evaluate the efficacy of different types of motor-cognitive training interventions (e.g., sequential and simultaneous) on selected functional outcomes in healthy older adults. Methods: Six online academic databases were used to retrieve eligible RCTs up to April 2021, following PRISMA guidelines and PICO criteria. A random-effects model was used for all meta-analyses conducted on selected functional outcomes: single- and dual-task gait speed, the Timed Up and Go Test (TUG), and Berg Balance Scale (BBS) score. Effect size (ES) was calculated as Hedges' g and interpreted as: trivial: <0.20, small: 0.20–0.60, moderate: 0.61–1.20, large: 1.21–2.00, very large: 2.01–4.00 or extremely large >4.00. Results: From 2,546 retrieved records, 91 RCTs were included for meta-analysis (n = 3,745 participants; 64.7–86.9 years). The motor-cognitive interventions included differed according to the type of training (e.g., sequential, simultaneous with additional cognitive task or exergame training. The results showed that motor-cognitive interventions can improve gait speed under single-task conditions (small ES = 0.34, P = 0.003). The effect of the intervention was moderated by the type of control group (Q = 6.203, P = 0.013): passive (moderate ES = 0.941, P = 0.001) vs. active controls (trivial ES = 0.153, P = 0.180). No significant effect was found for dual-task walking outcomes (P = 0.063). Motor-cognitive intervention had a positive effect on TUG (small ES = 0.42, P < 0.001), where the effect of intervention was moderated by control group [passive (moderate ES = 0.73, P = 0.001) vs. active (small ES = 0.20, P = 0.020)], but not by the type of training (P = 0.064). Finally, BBS scores were positively affected by motor-cognitive interventions (small ES = 0.59, P < 0.001) with however no significant differences between type of control group (P = 0.529) or intervention modality (P = 0.585). Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the effectiveness of various types of motor-cognitive interventions on performance-based measures of functional mobility in healthy older adults. With respect to significant effects, gait speed under single-task condition was improved by motor-cognitive interventions, but the evidence shows that this type of intervention is not necessarily more beneficial than motor training alone. On the other hand, motor-cognitive interventions are better at improving multicomponent tasks of dynamic balance and mobility function, as measured by the TUG. Because of substantial heterogeneity and the current limited availability of different types of interventions, the conclusions should be interpreted with caution.
Keywords: motor-cognitive interventions, dual-task, elderly, mobility, postural control
Published in DiRROS: 21.06.2022; Views: 58; Downloads: 55
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Brain dynamics underlying preserved cycling ability in patients with Parkinson’s disease and freezing of gait
Teja Ličen, Martin Rakuša, Nicolaas I. Bohnen, Paolo Manganotti, Uroš Marušič, 2022, review article

Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is generally associated with abnormally increased beta band oscillations in the cortico-basal ganglia loop during walking. PD patients with freezing of gait (FOG) exhibit a more distinct, prolonged narrow band of beta oscillations that are locked to the initiation of movement at ∼18 Hz. Upon initiation of cycling movements, this oscillation has been reported to be weaker and rather brief in duration. Due to the suppression of the overall beta band power during cycling and its continuous nature of the movement, cycling is considered to be less demanding for cortical networks compared to walking, including reduced need for sensorimotor processing, and thus unimpaired continuous cycling motion. Furthermore, cycling has been considered one of the most efficient non-pharmacological therapies with an influence on the subthalamic nucleus (STN) beta rhythms implicative of the deep brain stimulation effects. In the current review, we provide an overview of the currently available studies and discuss the underlying mechanism of preserved cycling ability in relation to the FOG in PD patients. The mechanisms are presented in detail using a graphical scheme comparing cortical oscillations during walking and cycling in PD.
Keywords: gait, freezing of gait, Parkinson's disease, cycling, cortical oscillations, beta band
Published in DiRROS: 21.06.2022; Views: 78; Downloads: 79
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The muscle contractile properties in female soccer players : inter-limb comparison using tensiomyography
Armin Paravlić, Zoran Milanović, Ensar Abazović, Goran Vučković, Darjan Spudić, Živa Majcen Rošker, Maja Pajek, Janez Vodičar, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Objective: The present study aimed to: i) determine the contractile properties of the major lower limb muscles in female soccer players using tensiomyography; ii) investigate inter-limb differences; and iii) compare inter-limb differences between different selections and playing positions. Methods: A total of 52 female soccer players (A team; U19 and U17) were recruited. The vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM), rectus femoris (RF), biceps femoris (BF), gastrocnemius medialis (GM), lateralis (GL) and tibialis anterior (TA) of both lower limbs were evaluated. Results: When the entire sample was assessed regardless of selection or playing position, there were significant inter-limb differences in all measured muscles except BF. Compared to the non-dominant limb, the dominant limb had higher delay time in VL (p=0.008), while showing lower values in VM (p=0.023), GL (p=0.043) and GM (p=0.006). Contraction time was lower in the RF of the dominant limb (p=0.005) and VM (p=0.047), while showing higher values in VL (p=0.036) and TA (p<0.001) as compared to the non-dominant limb. Conclusion: Given the differences found between the limbs in the whole sample studied, it is necessary to examine both limbs to gather a more in-depth understanding of underlying mechanisms related to neuromuscular functions in female soccer players. Level of evidence: Prognostic study, Level II.
Keywords: asymmetries, neuromuscular functions, skeletal muscles, tensiomyography, Women' s football
Published in DiRROS: 16.06.2022; Views: 93; Downloads: 50
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