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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2014;2014:2314-7. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2014.6944083.

Correlation between muscular and nerve signals responsible for hand grasping in non-human primates.


Neuroprosthetic devices that interface with the nervous system to restore functional motor activity offer a viable alternative to nerve regeneration, especially in proximal nerve injuries like brachial plexus injuries where muscle atrophy may set in before nerve re-innervation occurs. Prior studies have used control signals from muscle or cortical activity. However, nerve signals are preferred in many cases since they permit more natural and precise control when compared to muscle activity, and can be accessed with much lower risk than cortical activity. Identification of nerve signals that control the appropriate muscles is essential for the development of such a `bionic link'. Here we examine the correlation between muscle and nerve signals responsible for hand grasping in the M. fascicularis. Simultaneous recordings were performed using a 4-channel thin-film longitudinal intra-fascicular electrode (tf-LIFE) and 9 bipolar endomysial muscle electrodes while the animal performed grasping movements. We were able to identify a high degree of correlation (r > 0.6) between nerve signals from the median nerve and movement-dependent muscle activity from the flexor muscles of the forearm, with a delay that corresponded to 25 m/s nerve conduction velocity. The phase of the flexion could be identified using a wavelet approximation of the ENG. This result confirms this approach for a future neuroprosthetic device for the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries.

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