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Introduction

Introduction


Segmentation of an EMG mapThe electromyography (EMG) signal is the summation of traveling Motor Unit Action Potentials (MUAPs) as contributions of all active MUs (download ppt Powerpoint Document Icon) that propagates along the fibers from the neuromuscular junction (Innervation Zone, IZ) to the tendons with a certain Conduction Velocity (CV) [Merletti et al. 2004]. It can be detected non-invasively and unobtrusively on the skin all over the human body and reflect brain strategies, muscle activation intervals and fatigue, even slightly before the initialization of the actual movement. Information extracted from the EMG can be used in modeling movement intentions and in monitoring muscle function during rehabilitation processes. Understanding how upper limb effort and movement influences recovery after an injury in the neuromuscular systems has implications for prescribing rehabilitation therapies for the treatment after an incomplete Spinal Cord Injury (iSCI) [Huang et al. 2009] or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) [Rojas et al. 2007].

As reflected in the purposes of the Neurorehab 3e+d project developed during the last two years at the Hospital Institut Guttmann in Barcelona, Spain, by a consortium where our group participated, the analysis of EMG allows greater efficiency in terms of personalized treatments intended for improving such reorganization, in addition to the monitoring of therapy results trough quantitative indexes according to current trends in evidence-based medicine. Similarly, compensation mechanisms have been found to take place after an injury caused by the repetitive use of the same muscular group, leading to lateral epicondylitis (LE) or to focal hand dystonia (FD) [Moreno-Torres et al. 2010] and preventing muscular balance even after treatment and reincorporation to work or daily activities.

Different rehabilitation therapies have been proposed for both cases. However, it is still necessary to establish quantitative measures to account for changes at muscular structure level in order to relate those changes to the success/failure of the prescribed therapy (download ppt Powerpoint Document Icon). The Egarsat Hospital which has been collaborating with our group during the last 7 years [Rojas et al. 2009, 2007] is highly willing to incorporate the findings on multichannel sEMG techniques to their rehabilitation programs.