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Effects of jaw clenching and mental stress on persistent inward currents estimated by two different methods
Ricardo N. O. Mesquita, Janet Taylor, Gabriel Trajano, Aleš Holobar, Basilio Gonçalves, Anthony Blazevich, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Spinal motoneuron firing depends greatly on persistent inward currents (PICs), which in turn are facilitated by the neuromodulators serotonin and noradrenaline. The aim of this study was to determine whether jaw clenching (JC) and mental stress (MS), which may increase neuromodulator release, facilitate PICs in human motoneurons. The paired motor unit (MU) technique was used to estimate PIC contribution to motoneuron firing. Surface electromyograms were collected using a 32-channel matrix on gastrocnemius medialis (GM) during voluntary, ramp, plantar flexor contractions. MU discharges were identified, and delta frequency (ΔF), a measure of recruitment–derecruitment hysteresis, was calculated. Additionally, another technique was used (VibStim) that evokes involuntary contractions that persist after cessation of combined Achilles tendon vibration and triceps surae neuromuscular electrical stimulation. VibStim measures of plantar flexor torque and soleus activity may reflect PIC activation. ΔF was not significantly altered by JC (p = .679, n = 18, 9 females) or MS (p = .147, n = 14, 5 females). However, all VibStim variables quantifying involuntary torque and muscle activity during and after vibration cessation were significantly increased in JC (p < .011, n = 20, 10 females) and some, but not all, increased in MS (p = .017–.05, n = 19, 10 females). JC and MS significantly increased the magnitude of involuntary contractions (VibStim) but had no effect on GM ΔF during voluntary contractions. Effects of increased neuromodulator release on PIC contribution to motoneuron firing might differ between synergists or be context dependent. Based on these data, the background level of voluntary contraction and, hence, both neuromodulation and ionotropic inputs could influence neuromodulatory PIC enhancement.
Keywords: electromyography, bistability, HD-EMG, input–output function, motor neuron
Published in DKUM: 22.05.2024; Views: 55; Downloads: 1
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The dose–response relationship of quercetin on the motor unit firing patterns and contractile properties of muscle in men and women
Kohei Watanabe, Shun Kunugi, Aleš Holobar, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Quercetin is one type of ergogenic aid and its effects on the neuromuscular system have recently attracted interest, but its dose-effect is not yet fully understood. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of different doses of quercetin ingestion on motor unit firing patterns and muscle contractile properties in humans. Thirteen young males and females conducted neuromuscular performance tests before (PRE) and 60 min after (POST) ingestions of 500 or 200 mg of quercetin glycosides (Qg500/Qg200, respectively) or placebo (PLA) on three different days. At PRE and POST, motor unit firing rates were calculated from high-density surface electromyography of the vastus lateralis muscle during 120-s isometric contraction of knee extension at 10% of maximal voluntary contraction. Electrically elicited forces in knee extensor muscles were also measured. After 60 s of voluntary contraction, motor unit firing rates, normalized by the exerted muscle force at POST, were significantly lower at POST than PRE with Qg500 and Qg200 (p < 0.05), but not with PLA (p > 0.05). Changes in motor unit firing rates normalized by the exerted force from PRE to POST were significantly greater with Qg500 than Qg200 at the end of contraction (p < 0.05). Under all three conditions, the electrically elicited force did not significantly change from PRE to POST (p > 0.05). These results suggest that both 500 and 200-mg quercetin ingestions alter motor unit firing patterns, and that quercetin’s effect is at least partially dose-dependent.
Keywords: ergogenic aids, nutritional supplementation, multichannel surface electromyography, motor unit identification, quercetin
Published in DKUM: 09.02.2024; Views: 197; Downloads: 15
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Inter-person differences in isometric coactivations of triceps surae and tibialis anterior decrease in young, but not in older adults after 14 days of bed rest
Matjaž Divjak, Gašper Sedej, Nina Murks, Mitja Gerževič, Uroš Marušič, Rado Pišot, Boštjan Šimunič, Aleš Holobar, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: We examined activation patterns of the gastrocnemius medialis (GM), gastrocnemius lateralis (GL), soleus (SO), and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles in eight older (58.4 ± 3.3 years) and seven young (23.1 ± 2.9 years) participants, before and after 14 days of horizontal bed rest. Visual feedback on the exerted muscle torque was provided to the participants. The discharge patterns of individual motor units (MUs) were studied in three repetitions of isometric plantar flexion at 30 and 60% of Maximum Voluntary Contraction (MVC), before, and 1 day after the 14-day bed rest, respectively. In the GL and GM muscles, the older participants demonstrated higher MU discharge rates than the young, regardless of the contraction level, both before and after the bed rest. In the TA and SO muscles, the differences between the older and young participants were less consistent. Detailed analysis revealed person-specific changes in the MU discharge rates after the bed rest. To quantify the coactivation patterns we calculated the correlation coefficients between the cumulative spike trains of identified MUs from each muscle, and measured the root mean square difference of the correlation coefficients between the trials of the same session (intra-session variability) and between different sessions (inter-session variability) in each participant (intra-person comparison) and across participants (inter-person comparison). In the intra-person comparison, the inter-session variability was higher than the intra-session variability, either before or after the bed rest. At 60% MVC torque, the young demonstrated higher inter-person variability of coactivation than the older participants, but this variability decreased significantly after the bed rest. In older participants, inter-person variability was consistently lower at 60% than at 30% MVC torque. In young participants, inter-person variability became lower at 60% than at 30% MVC torque only after the bed rest. Precaution is required when analyzing the MU discharge and coactivation patterns, as individual persons demonstrate individual adaptations to aging or bed rest.
Keywords: mišičnoskeletni sistem, mišice, bed rest, staranje, elektromiografija, high density electromyography, muscle disuse, motor units, discharge rate, aging
Published in DKUM: 07.07.2023; Views: 464; Downloads: 46
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New perspectives for computer-aided discrimination of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor
Petra Povalej Bržan, J.A. Gallego, J. P. Romero, Vojko Glaser, E. Rocon, Julián Benito-León, Félix Bermejo-Pareja, Ignacio Posada, Aleš Holobar, 2017, original scientific article

Abstract: Pathological tremor is a common but highly complex movement disorder, affecting ~5% of population older than 65 years. Different methodologies have been proposed for its quantification. Nevertheless, the discrimination between Parkinson's disease tremor and essential tremor remains a daunting clinical challenge, greatly impacting patient treatment and basic research. Here, we propose and compare several movement-based and electromyography-based tremor quantification metrics. For the latter, we identified individual motor unit discharge patterns from high-density surface electromyograms and characterized the neural drive to a single muscle and how it relates to other affected muscles in 27 Parkinson's disease and 27 essential tremor patients. We also computed several metrics from the literature. The most discriminative metrics were the symmetry of the neural drive to muscles, motor unit synchronization, and the mean log power of the tremor harmonics in movement recordings. Noteworthily, the first two most discriminative metrics were proposed in this study. We then used decision tree modelling to find the most discriminative combinations of individual metrics, which increased the accuracy of tremor type discrimination to 94%. In summary, the proposed neural drive-based metrics were the most accurate at discriminating and characterizing the two most common pathological tremor types.
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, electromyography, wrist movements, motor units, muscular excitation, decision tree
Published in DKUM: 03.11.2017; Views: 1598; Downloads: 406
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Human-machine interfacing by decoding surface electromyogram
Dario Farina, Aleš Holobar, 2015, original scientific article

Keywords: decoding, electromyography, human computer interaction, neurons, accuracyuser interfaces
Published in DKUM: 25.05.2015; Views: 1524; Downloads: 0

Adjustments differ among low-threshold motor units during intermittent, isometric contractions
Dario Farina, Aleš Holobar, Marco Gazzoni, Damjan Zazula, Roberto Merletti, Roger M. Enoka, 2009, original scientific article

Abstract: We investigated the changes in muscle fiber conduction velocity, recruitment and derecruitment thresholds, and discharge rate of low-threshold motor units during a series of ramp contractions. The aim was to compare the adjustments in motor unit activity relative to the duration that each motor unit was active during the task. Multichannel surface electromyographic (EMG) signals were recorded from the abductor pollicis brevis muscle of eight healthy men during 12-s contractions (n = 25) in which the force increased and decreased linearly from 0 to 10% of the maximum. The maximal force exhibited a modest decline (8.5 +- 9.3%; P < 0.05) at the end of the task. The discharge times of 73 motor units that were active for 16-98% of the time during the first five contractions were identified throughout the task by decomposition of the EMG signals. Action potential conduction velocity decreased during the task by a greater amount for motor units that were initially active for >70% of the time compared with that of less active motor units. Moreover, recruitment and derecruitment thresholds increased for these most active motor units, whereas the thresholds decreased for the less active motor units. Another 18 motor units were recruited at an average of 171 +- 32 s after the beginning of the task. The recruitment and derecruitment thresholds of these units decreased during the task, but muscle fiber conduction velocity did not change. These results indicate that low-threshold motor units exhibit individual adjustments in muscle fiber conduction velocity and motor neuron activation that depended on the relative duration of activity during intermittent contractions.
Keywords: electromyography, surface electromyography, multi-channel EMG, motor units, decompostion, recruitment treshold, derecruitment treshold_
Published in DKUM: 01.06.2012; Views: 1916; Downloads: 281
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Analysis of neuromuscular disorders using statistical and entropy metrics on surface EMG
Rok Istenič, Prodromos A. Kaplanis, Constantinos S. Pattichis, Damjan Zazula, 2008, original scientific article

Abstract: This paper introduces the surface electromyogram (EMG) classification system based on statistical and entropy metrics. The system is intended for diagnostic use and enables classification of examined subject as normal, myopathic or neuropathic, regarding to the acquired EMG signals. 39 subjects in total participated in the experiment, 19 normal, 11 myopathic and 9 neuropathic. Surface EMG was recorded using 4-channel surface electrodes on the biceps brachii muscle at isometric voluntary contractions. The recording time was only 5 seconds long to avoid muscle fatigue, and contractions at fiveforce levels were performed, i.e. 10, 30, 50, 70 and 100 % of maximal voluntary contraction. The feature extraction routine deployed the wavelet transform and calculation of the Shannon entropy across all the scales in order to obtain a feature set for each subject. Subjects were classified regarding the extracted features using three machine learning techniques, i.e. decision trees, support vector machines and ensembles of support vector machines. Four 2-class classifications and a 3-class classification were performed. The scored classification rates were the following: 64+-11% for normal/abnormal, 74+-7% for normal/myopathic, 79+-8% for normal/neuropathic, 49+-20% for myopathic/neuropathic, and 63+-8% for normal/myopathic/neuropathic.
Keywords: surface electromyography, neuromuscular disorders, neuropathy, myopathy, EMG signals, signal processing, wavelet transform, metrics
Published in DKUM: 31.05.2012; Views: 1925; Downloads: 43
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