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Methods. 2003 Jun;30(2):127-41.

Electromyogram recordings from freely moving animals.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Neuroscience Research Group, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.


Electromyography can be used to record activity from sets of muscles in awake, freely moving animals using implanted intramuscular electrodes. As a tool, EMG has a wide range of applications ranging from inferring neural processes to analyzing movement. The amplitude of the rectified and filtered electromyogram (EMG) can be used as an indirect measure of muscle activity. Although it is often tempting to correlate the EMG with muscle force, the fact that force varies more with different activation strategies than with EMG estimates must be taken into account. The purpose of this article is to provide the researcher wishing to introduce the technique of recording EMGs from conscious animals using intramuscular electrodes with a step-by-step guide. It includes details on the manufacture of electromyograph electrodes, recording, and analysis considerations along with a section on solving common problems. For the sake of clarity, this article focuses on using the cat as a model and on the implantation of hindlimb muscles with intramuscular wire electrodes. However, the procedures can be adapted for use on other striated muscles and species.

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