Investigation of physiological properties of nerves and muscles using electromyography.

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The measurement and representation of the electrical activity of muscles [electromyography (EMG)] have a long history from the Victorian Era until today. Currently, EMG has uses both as a research tool, in noninvasively recording muscle activation, and clinically in the diagnosis and assessment of nerve and muscle disease and injury as well as in assessing the recovery of neuromuscular function after nerve damage. In the present report, we describe the use of a basic EMG setup in our teaching laboratories to demonstrate some of these current applications. Our practical also illustrates some fundamental physiological and structural properties of nerves and muscles. Learning activities include 1) displaying the recruitment of muscle fibers with increasing force development; 2) the measurement of conduction velocity of motor nerves; 3) the assessment of reflex delay and demonstration of Jendrassik's maneuver; and 4) a Hoffman reflex experiment that illustrates the composition of mixed nerves and the differential excitability thresholds of fibers within the same nerve, thus aiding an understanding of the reflex nature of muscle control. We can set up the classes at various levels of inquiry depending on the needs/professional requirements of the class. The results can then provide an ideal platform for a discovery learning session/tutorial on how the central nervous system controls muscles, giving insights on how supraspinal control interacts with reflexes to give smooth, precise muscular activation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2014

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