This course explores in greater depth and breadth the role of the nervous system in the coordination of physiological systems that support physical activity and exercise. Factors that influence the neural control of motor output and/or cognition such as traumatic injuries to the neural tissue, disease states, microgravity, increased activity, inactivity, and aging are considered in depth. Topics include the autonomic regulation of blood flow, neurotrophic factors effects on motor and cognitive functions, activity-dependent plasticity of the nervous system and neurorehabilitatin, and alterations in sensorimotor control. Laboratory experiments utilize cellular, molecular, and histochemical techniques to assess changes in skeletal muscle and neural properties using models of increased and decreased activity. Students work in small collaborations to identify a relevant question, research the literature, and design and complete a research thesis.
Prerequisites: EXSC 328. NRSC 201 is recommended.