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Med Eng Phys. 2010 Nov;32(9):1032-42. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Continuous monitoring of electromyography (EMG), mechanomyography (MMG), sonomyography (SMG) and torque output during ramp and step isometric contractions.

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Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China.


In this study we simultaneously collected ultrasound images, EMG, MMG from the rectus femoris (RF) muscle and torque signal from the leg extensor muscle group of nine male subjects (mean±SD, age=30.7±.4.9 years; body weight=67.0±8.4kg; height=170.4±6.9cm) during step, ramp increasing, and decreasing at three different rates (50%, 25% and 17% MVC/s). The muscle architectural parameters extracted from ultrasound imaging, which reflect muscle contractions, were defined as sonomyography (SMG) in this study. The cross-sectional area (CSA) and aspect ratio between muscle width and thickness (width/thickness) were extracted from ultrasound images. The results showed that the CSA of RF muscles decreased by 7.25±4.07% when muscle torque output changed from 0% to 90% MVC, and the aspect ratio decreased by 41.66±7.96%. The muscle contraction level and SMG data were strongly correlated (R(2)=0.961, P=0.003, for CSA and R(2)=0.999, P<0.001, for width/thickness ratio). The data indicated a significant difference (P<0.05) in percentage changes for CSA and aspect ratio among step, ramp increasing, and decreasing contractions. The normalized EMG RMS in ramp increasing was 8.25±4.00% higher than step (P=0.002). The normalized MMG RMS of step contraction was significantly lower than ramp increasing and decreasing, with averaged differences of 12.22±3.37% (P=0.001) and 12.06±3.37% (P=0.001), respectively. The results of this study demonstrated that the CSA and aspect ratio, i.e., SMG signals, can provide useful information about muscle contractions. They may therefore complement EMG and MMG for studying muscle activation strategies under different conditions.

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