The experimental simulation method was based upon the separate activation of up to 10 small groups of motor units (MU) in an acute nerve-muscle preparation. The investigator was able to precisely control and systematically alter the features of MU pool activation strategies. No implicit assumptions were made regarding MU properties. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity of this method. Three criteria were formulated and found to be satisfied: First, in the time domain, visual and audio displays of simulated EMG were indistinguishable from physiological EMG. Secondly, in the frequency domain, power spectra of simulated EMG revealed the typical features of EMG recorded during voluntary activation in the cat. Thirdly, the well-known mono-tonic relationship between EMG magnitude and force was readily reproduced, alüiough strictly linear relations were not found. In addition. the relationship between the pool's ensemble activation rate and EMG magnitude showed distinct gain compression, mostly attributable to signal cancellation.
Manuel Hulliger, Scott J. Day, Antonio Guimaraes, Walter Herzog, and Yuan-Ting Zhang
Karin G.M. Gerritsen, Anton J. van den Bogert, Manuel Hulliger, and Ronald F. Zernicke
The purpose of this study was to investigate, theoretically, to what extent muscle properties could contribute to recovery from perturbations during locomotion. Four models with different actuator properties were created: the FLVT model, which encompassed force-length (FL) and force-velocity (FV) characteristics of human muscles as well as muscle stimulation inputs as functions of time (T); the FLT model, which had muscles without force-velocity characteristics; the FVT model, which had muscles without specific force-length characteristics; and the MT model, which had no muscles but was driven by joint moments (M) as a function of time. Each model was exposed to static and dynamic perturbations and its response was examined. FLVT showed good resistance to both static and dynamic perturbations. FLT was resistant to static perturbation but could not counteract dynamic perturbation, whereas the opposite was found for FVT. MT could not counteract either of the perturbations. Based on the results of the simulations, skeletal muscle force-length-velocity properties, although interactively complex, contribute substantially to the dynamic stability of the musculoskeletal system.