motor units
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Ayad Assad Ibrahim ◽  
Ikhlas Mahmoud Farhan ◽  
Mohammed Ehasn Safi

Spatial interpolation of a surface electromyography (sEMG) signal from a set of signals recorded from a multi-electrode array is a challenge in biomedical signal processing. Consequently, it could be useful to increase the electrodes' density in detecting the skeletal muscles' motor units under detection's vacancy. This paper used two types of spatial interpolation methods for estimation: Inverse distance weighted (IDW) and Kriging. Furthermore, a new technique is proposed using a modified nonlinearity formula based on IDW. A set of EMG signals recorded from the noninvasive multi-electrode grid from different types of subjects, sex, age, and type of muscles have been studied when muscles are under regular tension activity. A goodness of fit measure (R2) is used to evaluate the proposed technique. The interpolated signals are compared with the actual signals; the Goodness of fit measure's value is almost 99%, with a processing time of 100msec. The resulting technique is shown to be of high accuracy and matching of spatial interpolated signals to actual signals compared with IDW and Kriging techniques.

Pietro Morasso

The human “marionette” is extremely complex and multi-articulated: anatomical redundancy (in terms of Degrees of Freedom: DoFs), kinematic redundancy (movements can have different trajectories, velocities, and accelerations and yet achieve the same goal, according to the principle of Motor Equivalence), and neurophysiological redundancy (many more muscles than DoFs and multiple motor units for each muscle). Although it is quite obvious that such abundance is not noxious at all because, in contrast, it is instrumental for motor learning, allowing the nervous system to “explore” the space of feasible actions before settling on an elegant and possibly optimal solution, the crucial question then boils down to figure out how the nervous system “chooses/selects/recruits/modulates” task-dependent subsets of countless assemblies of DoFs as functional motor synergies. Despite this daunting conceptual riddle, human purposive behavior in daily life activities is a proof of concept that solutions can be found easily and quickly by the embodied brain of the human cognitive agent. The point of view suggested in this essay is to frame the question above in the old-fashioned but still seminal observation by Marr and Poggio that cognitive agents should be regarded as Generalized Information Processing Systems (GIPS) and should be investigated according to three nearly independent but complementary levels of analysis: 1) the computational level, 2) the algorithmic level, and 3) the implementation level. In this framework, we attempt to discriminate as well as aggregate the different hypotheses and solutions proposed so far: the optimal control hypothesis, the muscle synergy hypothesis, the equilibrium point hypothesis, or the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis, to mention the most popular ones. The proposed GIPS follows the strategy of factoring out shaping and timing by adopting a force-field based approach (the Passive Motion Paradigm) that is inspired by the Equilibrium Point Hypothesis, extended in such a way to represent covert as well overt actions. In particular, it is shown how this approach can explain spatio-temporal invariances and, at the same time, solve the Degrees of Freedom Problem.

J Fuchs ◽  
A Bockay ◽  
T Liptak ◽  
V Ledecky ◽  
M Kuricova

Electromyography (EMG) is a sophisticated electrodiagnostic-neurophysiological method, which serves to diagnose neuromuscular system diseases. It is based on the measurement of the electrical potentials created by the skeletal muscle activity. For this technique, surface electrodes and needle electrodes can be used, which read the action potential of a large number of motor units and read a small number of motor units, respectively. The wide-spectrum application of this method extends our diagnostic possibilities of the clinical examination in veterinary practice. Together with a clinical neurological examination and imaging methods, EMG forms a part of the diagnosis of nervous system diseases and it is a useful diagnostic technique for differentiating neuropathies, junctionopathies, and myopathies. The results of the neurophysiological examination inform us about the functional state of the peripheral and central nervous system; it can demonstrate subclinical diseases and monitor the dynamics of changes in the functional state of individual nervous systems over time. In this article, we review the electromyographic method and its use in veterinary practice.

Julien Rossato ◽  
Kylie J. Tucker ◽  
Simon Avrillon ◽  
Lilian Lacourpaille ◽  
Ales Holobar ◽  

This study aimed to determine whether neural drive is redistributed between muscles during a fatiguing isometric contraction, and if so, whether the initial level of common synaptic input between these muscles constrains this redistribution. We studied two muscle groups: triceps surae (14 participants) and quadriceps (15 participants). Participants performed a series of submaximal isometric contractions and a torque-matched contraction maintained until task failure. We used high-density surface electromyography to identify the behavior of 1874 motor units from the soleus, gastrocnemius medialis (GM), gastrocnemius lateralis(GL), rectus femoris, vastus lateralis (VL), and vastus medialis(VM). We assessed the level of common drive between muscles in absence of fatigue using a coherence analysis. We also assessed the redistribution of neural drive between muscles during the fatiguing contraction through the correlation between their cumulative spike trains (index of neural drive). The level of common drive between VL and VM was significantly higher than that observed for the other muscle pairs, including GL-GM. The level of common drive increased during the fatiguing contraction, but the differences between muscle pairs persisted. We also observed a strong positive correlation of neural drive between VL and VM during the fatiguing contraction (r=0.82). This was not observed for the other muscle pairs, including GL-GM, which exhibited differential changes in neural drive. These results suggest that less common synaptic input between muscles allows for more flexible coordination strategies during a fatiguing task, i.e., differential changes in neural drive across muscles. The role of this flexibility on performance remains to be elucidated.

Nicholas Mazzoleni ◽  
Jeong Yong Kim ◽  
Matthew Bryant

Abstract Fluidic artificial muscles (FAMs) are a popular actuation choice due to their compliant nature and high force-to-weight ratio. Variable recruitment is a bio-inspired actuation strategy in which multiple FAMs are combined into motor units that can be pressurized sequentially according to load demand. In a traditional ‘fixed-end’ variable recruitment FAM bundle, inactive units and activated units that are past free strain will compress and buckle outward, resulting in resistive forces that reduce overall bundle force output, increase spatial envelope, and reduce operational life. This paper investigates the use of inextensible tendons as a mitigation strategy for preventing resistive forces and outward buckling of inactive and submaximally activated motor units in a variable recruitment FAM bundle. A traditional analytical fixed-end variable recruitment FAM bundle model is modified to account for tendons, and the force-strain spaces of the two configurations are compared while keeping the overall bundle length constant. Actuation efficiency for the two configurations is compared for two different cases: one case in which the radii of all FAMs within the bundle are equivalent, and one case in which the bundles are sized to consume the same amount of working fluidvolume at maximum contraction. Efficiency benefits can be found for either configuration for different locations within their shared force-strain space, so depending on the loading requirements, one configuration may be more efficient than the other. Additionally, a study is performed to quantify the increase in spatial envelope caused by the outward buckling of inactive or low-pressure motor units. It was found that at full activation of recruitment states 1, 2, and 3, the tendoned configuration has a significantly higher volumetric energy density than the fixed-end configuration, indicating that the tendoned configuration has more actuation potential for a given spatial envelope. Overall, the results show that using a resistive force mitigation strategy such as tendons can completely eliminate resistive forces, increase volumetric energy density, and increase system efficiency for certain loading cases. Thus, there is a compelling case to be made for the use of tendoned FAMs in variable recruitment bundles.

Alexander M. Zero ◽  
Eric A. Kirk ◽  
Charles L. Rice

During activity-dependent potentiation (ADP) motor unit firing rates (MUFRs) are lower, however, the mechanism for this response is not known. During increasing torque isometric contractions at low contraction intensities, MUFR trajectories initially accelerate and saturate demonstrating a non-linear response due to the activation of persistent inward currents (PICs) at the motoneuron. The purpose was to assess whether PICs are a factor in the reduction of MUFRs during ADP. To assess this, MUFR trajectories were fit with competing functions of linear regression and a rising exponential (i.e., acceleration and saturation). Using fine-wire electrodes, discrete MU potential trains were recorded in the tibialis anterior during slowly increasing dorsiflexion contractions to 10% of maximal voluntary contraction following both voluntary (post-activation potentiation; PAP) and evoked (post-tetanic potentiation; PTP) contractions. In 8 participants, 25 MUs were recorded across both ADP conditions and compared to the control with no ADP effect. During PAP and PTP, the average MUFRs were 16.4% and 9.2% lower (both P≤ 0.001), respectively. More MUFR trajectories were better fit to the rising exponential during control (16/25) compared to PAP (4/25, P<0.001) and PTP (8/25, P=0.03). The MU samples that had a rising exponential MUFR trajectory during PAP and PTP displayed an ~11% lower initial acceleration compared to control (P<0.05). Thus, synaptic amplification and MUFR saturation due to PIC properties are attenuated during ADP regardless of the type of conditioning contraction. This response may contribute to lower MUFRs and likely occurred because synaptic input is reduced when contractile function is enhanced.

Dheeraj Vemula ◽  
Jeong Yong Kim ◽  
Nicholas Mazzoleni ◽  
Matthew Bryant

Abstract Biological musculature employs variable recruitment of muscle fibers from smaller to larger units as the load increases. This orderly recruitment strategy has certain physiological advantages like minimizing fatigue and providing finer motor control. Recently fluidic artificial muscles (FAM) are gaining popularity as actuators due to their increased efficiency by employing these bio-inspired recruitment strategies such as active variable recruitment (AVR). AVR systems use a multi-valve system (MVS) configuration to selectively recruit individual FAMs depending on the load. However, when using an MVS configuration, an increase in the number of motor units in a bundle corresponds to an increase in the number of valves in the system. This introduces greater complexity and weight. The objective of this paper is to propose, analyze, and demonstrate an orderly recruitment valve (ORV) concept that enables orderly recruitment of multiple FAMs in the system using a single valve. A mathematical model of an ORV-controlled FAM bundle is presented and validated by experiments performed on an ORV prototype. The modeling is extended to explore a case study of a 1-DOF robot arm system consisting of an electrohydraulic pressurization system, ORV, and a FAM-actuated rotating arm plant and its dynamics are simulated to further demonstrate the capabilities of an ORV-controlled closed-loop system. An orderly recruitment strategy was implemented through a model-based feed forward controller. To benchmark the performance of the ORV, a conventional MVS with equivalent dynamics and controller was also implemented. Trajectory tracking simulations on both the systems revealed lower tracking error for the ORV controlled system compared to the MVS controlled system due to the unique cross-flow effects present in the ORV. However, the MVS, due to its independent and multiple valve setup, proved to be more adaptable for performance. For example, modifications to the recruitment thresholds of the MVS demonstrated improvement in tracking error, albeit with a sacrifice in efficiency. In the ORV tracking performance remained insensitive to any variation in recruitment threshold. The results show that compared to the MVS, the ORV offers a simpler and more compact valving architecture at the expense of moderate losses in control flexibility and performance.

2021 ◽  
Zhongxi Li ◽  
Angel V Peterchev ◽  
John C Rothwell ◽  
Stefan M Goetz

Background: Motor-evoked potentials (MEP) are one of the most prominent responses to brain stimulation, such as supra-threshold transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electrical stimulation. Understanding of the neurophysiology and the determination of the lowest stimulation strength that evokes responses requires the detection of even smaller responses, e.g., from single motor units. However, available detection and quantization methods suffer from a large noise floor. Objective: This paper develops a detection method that extracts MEPs hidden below the noise floor. With this method, we aim to estimate excitatory activations of the corticospinal pathways well below the conventional detection level. Methods: The presented MEP detection method presents a self-learning matched-filter approach for improved robustness against noise. The filter is adaptively generated per subject through iterative learning. For responses that are reliably detected by conventional detection, the new approach is fully compatible with established peak-to-peak readings and provides the same results but extends the dynamic range below the conventional noise floor. Results: In contrast to the conventional peak-to-peak measure, the proposed method increases the signal-to-noise ratio by more than a factor of 5. The first detectable responses appear to be substantially lower than the conventional threshold definition of 50 μV median peak-to-peak amplitude. Conclusion: The proposed method shows that stimuli well below the conventional 50 μV threshold definition can consistently and repeatably evoke muscular responses and thus activate excitable neuron populations in the brain. As a consequence, the IO curve is extended at the lower end, and the noise cut-off is shifted. Importantly, the IO curve extends so far that the 50 μV point turns out to be closer to the center of the logarithmic sigmoid curve rather than close to the first detectable responses. The underlying method is applicable to a wide range of evoked potentials and other biosignals, such as in electroencephalography.

2021 ◽  
Alessandro Del Vecchio ◽  
Rachael H. A. Jones ◽  
Ian S. Schofield ◽  
Thomas M Kinfe ◽  
Jaime Ibáñez ◽  

ABSTRACTMotor units convert the last neural code of movement into muscle forces. The classic view of motor unit control is that the central nervous system sends common synaptic inputs to motoneuron pools and that motoneurons respond in an orderly fashion dictated by the size principle. This view however is in contrast with the large number of dimensions observed in motor cortex which may allow individual and flexible control of motor units. Evidence for flexible control of motor units may be obtained by tracking motor units longitudinally during the performance of tasks with some level of behavioural variability. Here we identified and tracked populations of motor units in the brachioradialis muscle of two macaque monkeys during ten sessions spanning over one month during high force isometric contractions with a broad range of rate of force development (1.8 – 38.6 N·m·s-1). During the same sessions we recorded intramuscular EMG signals from 16 arm muscles of both limbs and elicited the full recruitment through neural stimulation of the median and deep radial nerves. We found a very stable recruitment order and discharge characteristics of the motor units over sessions and contraction trials. The small deviations from orderly recruitment were observed between motor units with close recruitment thresholds, and only during high rate of force development. Moreover, we also found that one component explained more than ~50% of the motor unit discharge rate variance, and that the remaining components could be described as a time-shifted version of the first, as it could be predicted from the interplay between the size principle of recruitment and one common input. In conclusion, our results show that motoneurons recruitment is determined by the interplay of the size principle and common input and that this recruitment scheme is not violated over time nor by the speed of the contractions.

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