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Forelimb EMG-based trigger to control an electronic spinal bridge to enable hindlimb stepping after a complete spinal cord lesion in rats

DOI: 10.1186/1743-0003-9-38

Keywords: Spinal cord injury, Spinal bridge-assisted stepping, EMG detection, Fast Fourier transform

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We developed an electronic spinal bridge that can detect specific patterns of EMG activity from the forelimb muscles to initiate electrical-enabling motor control (eEmc) of the lumbosacral spinal cord to enable quadrupedal stepping after a complete spinal cord transection in rats. A moving window detection algorithm was implemented in a small microprocessor to detect biceps brachii EMG activity bilaterally that then was used to initiate and terminate epidural stimulation in the lumbosacral spinal cord. We found dominant frequencies of 180–220 Hz in the EMG of the forelimb muscles during active periods, whereas these frequencies were between 0–10 Hz when the muscles were inactive.Once the algorithm was validated to represent kinematically appropriate quadrupedal stepping, we observed that the algorithm could reliably detect, initiate, and facilitate stepping under different pharmacological conditions and at various treadmill speeds.


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