The number of motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) appearing in the surface electromyogram (EMG) signal is directly related to motor unit recruitment and firing rates and therefore offers potentially valuable information about the level of activation of the motoneuron pool. In this paper, based on morphological features of the surface MUAPs, we try to estimate the number of MUAPs present in the surface EMG by counting the negative peaks in the signal. Several signal processing procedures are applied to the surface EMG to facilitate this peak counting process. The MUAP number estimation performance by this approach is first illustrated using the surface EMG simulations. Then, by evaluating the peak counting results from the EMG records detected by a very selective surface electrode, at different contraction levels of the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscles, the utility and limitations of such direct peak counts for MUAP number estimation in surface EMG are further explored.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)