Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

The Efficient Estimation of Motor Unit Excitability Parameters in Needle Electromyography Experiments

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

The Efficient Estimation of Motor Unit Excitability Parameters in Needle Electromyography Experiments

Article excerpt

Dear Editor-in-Chief

Moving our body is the outcome of our muscles' contraction. Muscles themselves are composed of groups of muscle fibres each controlled by a single motor neuron. The motor neuron and its associ- ated muscle fibres form the elementary functional unit of the neuromuscular system, the so-called motor unit (MU). By activating more or less MUs, the amount of generated muscle force can be in- creased or decreased. This is the key concept in testing muscle activities in patients with muscular disorders (1).

Motor unit activities (or equivalently, nerve excit- ability) can be studied by means of the so-called threshold tracking techniques, widely available by use of two widespread electrophysiological tech- niques; surface electromyography (SEMG) and needle electromyography (NEMG). Threshold tracking assesses excitability property of an MU by recording its response to a range of stimulus in- tensities required to elicit a target response (2). This experiment yields to a stimulus-response curve from which one can estimate MU's thresh- old (the stimulus intensity that elicits a response to 50% of the stimuli) and the range of stimulus in- tensities over which the MU shows a stochastic behavior. One demand, therefore, is to obtain ef- ficient estimates of these parameters. For estimation of MU's threshold, various strategies are available (3). However, the judgments underlying these approaches are mainly subjective and statis- tical methods are seldom used (4).

Two main interests in threshold tracking studies are; i) to develop a novel model-based approach in order to obtain reliable estimation of the MU's excitability parameters, and ii) to obtain an effi- cient experimental design for both NEMG and SEMG experiments. …

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