SICB Annual Meeting 2008

Late Breaking Symposium: "Electromyography Interpretation And Limitations In Functional Analyses Of Musculoskeletal Systems"

(Organized by Nicolai Konow & Shannon Gerry )

Electromyography (EMG) has for decades played an important role in studies of musculoskeletal function, providing important insight into how neuro-motor systems control intrinsic and extrinsic dynamics of biological mechanics. Currently, the technique is important in an integrative framework of experimental research. When used in conjunction with several other methods, EMGs can help quantify complex dynamic relationships at disparate organizational levels, e.g. in explaining how muscle-strain drives biomechanical force- and velocity trade-offs that directly influence behavioural performance. Despite its perseverance, both the interpretational potential, and limitations to EMG techniques in an integrative context are rarely debated. Inconsistency in EMG protocol yields pronounced variation in collection and analyses of muscle-activity data. Therefore, muscle-specific activity magnitudes reported for closely related taxa may vary ten-fold or more. Regional specialization and asynchronous activity in measured muscles contribute further to the complexity of EMG collection and analyses. Other pertinent incomparability issues include the computation of muscle-activity magnitude variables (e.g. amplitude and integrated area measurements), and temporal variability within muscles (e.g. in activity onset-timing and duration measurements).

A debate on the interpretation of EMG data is lacking and could foster a broader understanding of the interplay between biological mechanisms and inconsistencies in EMG protocol producing a pattern of labile muscle-activity within individuals and species, and conservative activity-patterns at evolutionary levels. Given the re-emergence of EMG in modern experimental biology, this symposium will discuss the general interpretational advantages and limitations and the relative importance of protocol incompatibility, with the overall goal of generating consensus for future studies. Hereby, the aim is to successfully incorporate EMG analysis, in synchronized quantitative analyses of assemblage-level functional disparity, coupled with techniques such as high-speed video, sonomicrometry, pressure-quantification and digital particle velocimetry. Symposium presenters will interpret the relative role and reflect on limitations of EMG in their studies, with concluding timeslot(s) dedicated to debate.



List of speakers:

LBS1.1 Thu, Jan. 3, 08:00 KONOW, Nicolai*; SANFORD, Christopher/PJ: Pros and cons of electromyography in an integrative experimental context

LBS1.2 Thu, Jan. 3, 08:20 HERREL, A*; AERTS, P: Electromyography and the evolution of motor control: insights and limitations.

LBS1.3 Thu, Jan. 3, 08:40 GERRY, S.P.**; RAMSAY, J.B.; WILGA, C.D.: Asynchrony in paired muscle motor activity

LBS1.4 Thu, Jan. 3, 09:00 GERMAN, R.Z.*; CROMPTON, A.W.; THEXTON, A.J.: Variation in EMG Activity during Feeding: A Hierarchical Approach

LBS1.5 Thu, Jan. 3, 09:20 VINYARD, C.J.*; WALL, C.E.: EMG during Primate Chewing: Patterns and Prospects for Studying Masticatory Function and Evolution

LBS1.6 Thu, Jan. 3, 10:00 WAKELING, James M: Reading physiological signatures in electromyograms

LBS1.7 Thu, Jan. 3, 10:20 ROBERTS, Thomas: Interpreting muscle function from EMG: lessons learned from direct measurements of muscle force.

LBS1.8 Thu, Jan. 3, 10:40 CARROLL, Andrew M.*; RICHARDS, Christopher: The relationship between EMG and strain rate in muscle fascicles: what should we expect and what do we find?

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