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The objective of this pilot study was to examine alterations in motor unit (MU) control properties, (i.e. MU recruitment and firing rate) after stroke utilizing a recently developed high-yield surface electromyogram (EMG) decomposition technique. Two stroke subjects participated in this study. A sensor array was used to record surface EMG signals from the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle during voluntary isometric contraction at varying force levels. The recording was performed in both paretic and contralateral muscles using a matched force protocol. Single motor unit activity was extracted using the surface EMG decomposition software from Delsys Inc. The results from the two stroke subjects indicate a reduction in the mean motor unit firing rate and a compression of motor unit recruitment range in paretic muscle as compared with the contralateral muscles. These findings provide further evidence of spinal motoneuron involvement after a hemispheric brain lesion, and help us to understand the complex origins of stroke induced muscle weakness.
Date of Conference: Aug. 30 2011-Sept. 3 2011