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J Neural Eng. 2015 Aug;12(4):046017. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/12/4/046017. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Muscle synergy analysis in children with cerebral palsy.

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Department of Electronic Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, People's Republic of China.



To explore the mechanism of lower extremity dysfunction of cerebral palsy (CP) children through muscle synergy analysis.


Twelve CP children were involved in this study, ten adults (AD) and eight typically developed (TD) children were recruited as a control group. Surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals were collected bilaterally from eight lower limb muscles of the subjects during forward walking at a comfortable speed. A nonnegative matrix factorization algorithm was used to extract muscle synergies. In view of muscle synergy differences in number, structure and symmetry, a model named synergy comprehensive assessment (SCA) was proposed to quantify the abnormality of muscle synergies.


There existed larger variations between the muscle synergies of the CP group and the AD group in contrast with the TD group. Fewer mature synergies were recruited in the CP group, and many abnormal synergies specific to the CP group appeared. Specifically, CP children were found to recruit muscle synergies with a larger difference in structure and symmetry between two legs of one subject and different subjects. The proposed SCA scale demonstrated its great potential to quantitatively assess the lower-limb motor dysfunction of CP children. SCA scores of the CP group (57.00 ± 16.78) were found to be significantly less (p < 0.01) than that of the control group (AD group: 95.74 ± 2.04; TD group: 84.19 ± 11.76).


The innovative quantitative results of this study can help us to better understand muscle synergy abnormality in CP children, which is related to their motor dysfunction and even the physiological change in their nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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