Indexed on: 11 Apr '06Published on: 11 Apr '06Published in: IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering
Action potentials travel along the muscle fibers with a specific conduction velocity that depends on their structural and functional properties. Only the estimation of muscle conduction velocity distribution (MCVD) may be able to depict this propagation heterogeneity. Based on the method proposed by Cummins et al. (Electroenceph Clin Neurophysiol, 46:647-658, 1979) to estimate nerve conduction velocity distribution (NCVD), the present paper proposes a method that modifies the Cummins' approach to make it suitable for MCVD estimation from electrically evoked motor responses. The MCVD estimation algorithm was first assessed by means of simulated signals in order to control all signal features during the optimization process. Simulations showed that estimated distributions were very close to the true ones when taking into account the specificities of the muscle action potential, due to its generation and extinction (MSE divided by 5 on distribution standard deviation). This method was then applied to real signals. Elicited motor responses were recorded on the biceps brachii of healthy subjects either during repeated maximal stimulations at 20 Hz or during increasing intensity stimulations at 1 Hz. MCVD estimates were used to analyze fatigue and motor unit recruitment processes, respectively.