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Is there sufficient evidence to explain the cause of sexually dimorphic behaviour in force steadiness?
- Jakobi, Jennifer M., Haynes, Elijah M.K., Smart, Rowan R.
- Applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism 2018 v.43 no.11 pp. 1207-1214
- females, gender differences, males, mechanics, sexual dimorphism
- Neuromuscular noise is a determining factor in the control of isometric force steadiness (FS), quantified as coefficient of variation (CV) of force around a preestablished target output. In this paper we examine sex-related differences of neural, muscular, and tendon influences on neuromuscular noise to understand FS in females and males. We use evidence from the literature to identify that CV of force is higher in females compared with males in the upper and lower body, with sex-related differences becoming less apparent with increasing age. Evaluation of sex-related physiology in tandem with results from FS studies indicate that differences in fibre type, contractile properties, and number of motor units (MUs) are unlikely contributors to differences in FS between females and males. MU type, behaviour of the population (inclusive of number of active MUs from the population), agonist–antagonist activity, maximal strength, and tendon mechanics are probable contributors to sexually dimorphic behaviour in FS. To clearly determine underlying causes of sex-related differences in FS, further study and reporting between females and males is required. Females and males are included in many studies; however, rich data on sexually dimorphic behaviour is lost when data are collapsed across sex or identified as nonsignificant without supporting values. This poses a challenge to identifying the underlying cause of females having higher CV of force than males. This review provides evidence of sexually dimorphic behaviour in FS and suggests that physiological differences between females and males effect neuromuscular noise, and in-turn contribute to sex-related differences in FS.