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J Neurosci Methods. 2007 May 15;162(1-2):1-7. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Standardization of H-reflex analyses.

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Research Centre for Human Movement Control, School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, Discipline of Physiology, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.


Variability in the H-reflex can make it difficult to identify significant changes using traditional pooled analysis techniques. This study was undertaken to introduce a normalisation approach to calculate both the relative size and the relative stimulus intensity required to elicit the H-reflex response so that comparisons can be made not only with results obtained during different experimental session but also between different subjects. This normalisation process fits the size of the measured M-responses and H-reflexes over the entire stimulus range with model curves to better facilitate the calculation of important parameters. This approach allows normalisation of not only the size of the response but also the relative stimulus intensity required to elicit the response. This eases the comparison of the reflex responses under various situations, and is capable of bringing out any genuine differences in the reflex in a reliable manner not previously possible. This study illustrates that comparison of the reflex between days is problematic, even in the same subject, as both the reflex size and the relative stimulus intensity required to obtain this reflex changed in all subjects. We suggest that H-reflex studies need to use normalisation not only for size of the reflex but also for the stimulus intensity, and also that all experiments for a single subject should be performed in the same session or during the same day using some level of background muscle activity in the muscle concerned as the variability of the muscle at rest was found to be larger.

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