Local field potentials allow accurate decoding of muscle activity

Robert D. Flint, Christian Ethier, Emily R. Oby, Lee E. Miller, Marc W. Slutzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Local field potentials (LFPs) in primary motor cortex include significant information about reach target location and upper limb movement kinematics. Some evidence suggests that they may be a more robust, longer-lasting signal than action potentials (spikes). Here we assess whether LFPs can also be used to decode upper limb muscle activity, a complex movement-related signal. We record electromyograms from both proximal and distal upper limb muscles from monkeys performing a variety of reach-tograsp and isometric wrist force tasks. We show that LFPs can be used to decode activity from both proximal and distal muscles with performance rivaling that of spikes. Thus, motor cortical LFPs include information about more aspects of movement than has been previously demonstrated. This provides further evidence suggesting that LFPs could provide a highly informative, long-lasting signal source for neural prostheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Action potentials
  • Brain-machine interfaces
  • Electromyograms
  • Electrophysiology
  • Motor cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

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