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Muscle recruitment through electrical stimulation of the lumbo-sacral spinal cord

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2 Author(s)
Mushahwar, V.K. ; Dept. of Bioeng., Utah Univ., Salt Lake City, UT, USA ; Horch, K.W.

The goal of this study was to determine the feasibility of producing graded muscle contraction in individual muscles or muscle groups by electrically stimulating motor neurons in the lumbo-sacral spinal cord. Recruitment curves were obtained for quadriceps, tibialis anterior and triceps surae/plantaris by stimulating their activation pools in the ventral horn of the feline spinal cord. Mean twitch times-to-peak for quadriceps, tibialis anterior and triceps surae/plantaris were 33.0, 41.0, and 36.0 ms, respectively. Twitch duration as a function of stimulus strength demonstrated a mixed motor unit recruitment order, distinctively different from the inverse recruitment order exhibited by conventional methods of electrical stimulation of peripheral nerve. The recruitment curve slopes (expressed as a percentage of maximum force per nanocurrent of delivered charge) were shallow: 7.9 for quadriceps, 2.6 for tibialis anterior and 8.5 for triceps surae/plantaris. These results show that graded control of force in individual muscles or muscle groups can be obtained through spinal cord stimulation, and suggest that spinal cord stimulation could be used for functional neuromuscular stimulation applications

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Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 1 )