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It is generally believed that a major cause of
motor dysfunction is the impairment in neural network that controls movement.
But little is known about the underlying
mechanisms of the impairment in cortical control or in the neural connections
between cortex and muscle that lead to the loss of motor ability. So understanding the functional connection
between motor cortex and effector muscle is of utmost importance. Previous
study mostly relied on cross-correlation,
coherence functions or model based approaches such as Granger causality or
dynamic causal modeling. In this work the information transfer index (ITI) was
introduced to describe the information flows between motor cortex and muscle.
Based on the information entropy the ITI can detect both linear and nonlinear
interaction between two signals and thus represent a very comprehensive way to
define the causality strength. The applicability of ITI is investigated based
on simulations and electroencephalogram (EEG), surface electromyography (sEMG)
recordings in a simple motor task.