Patellar Lab Report

1779 words 8 pages
Introduction There are two groups of reflexes in the human body, with two ways to categorize each of them. Reflexes can either be inborn and connected through the nervous system, or they can be learned through practice. Another way to explain a reflexive category would be autonomic reflexes or somatic reflexes. Autonomic reflexes are those which are unaware to us and act on visceral organs of the body, whereas somatic reflexes involve skeletal muscle stimulation. Both types of reflexes are put into effect via the nervous system. (1)
The Patellar reflex, or Knee-Jerk reflex, is used to test the nervous tissue in the spinal cord from L2-L4. The patellar reflex is known as a “reflex arc”. It is a negative feedback circuit that is made of
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When testing the first variable of mental distraction the subject was asked to mentally add a series a numbers in her head, without the use of paper and pencil. The purpose was to see if there was a noticeable difference when not paying attention to a reflex. Therefore the subject was not warned before the reflex strength was tested, in order to produce the strongest response possible. The subjects’ patellar tendon was sharply tapped, and the strength was slightly more vigorous than that of the baseline. The result was videotaped in order to view the tapping after the experiment was completed.
When testing the second variable of simultaneous muscle stimulation in another part of the body, the results were the same; slightly more vigorous than the baseline strength. It was requested that both hands be placed one either side of the subjects legs on the lab bench and grasp the edge hard. The subject was then asked to pull up as hard as possible and the patellar tendon was sharply tapped. The results were again recorded by video.
When testing the third variable of muscle fatigue the subject was asked to run up and down three levels of stairs in a Holyoke Community College building immediately before having the patellar reflex tested for the final time. The muscle fatigue variable was left until last so that


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