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Effects of sensory and biomechanical manipulations on the neurophysiological control of muscle force: experiments and computer simulations


The neurophysiological control of muscle force comprises a complex interplay between elements of the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. From a neurophysiological standpoint, the activity of motor units and sensory afferents are of paramount importance to shape the motor output during the execution of different tasks. In this research project, the neurophysiological control of muscle force will be studied by using two approaches: i) human experiments, and ii) computer simulations of a mathematical model of the neuromuscular system. Force control experiments will be performed in young healthy subjects. These experiments aim to evaluate the effects of changes in joint angle, as well as electrotactile and vibrotactile stimulations on force variability and the neural drive to a hand's muscle. Muscle force and surface high-density electromyogram will be recorded and analyzed. The latter signal will provide the information regarding the discharge times of motor units recruited during the motor tasks. In the computational investigation, we are going to use a multiscale and biologically plausible model of the neuromuscular system. The model will provide theoretical and conceptual support to understand the mechanisms underlying the experimental outcomes. The results of this project have the potential to further our understanding of the neurophysiological control of muscle force, which is essential for future clinical and technological applications in sensorimotor rehabilitation. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
GERMER, CARINA M.; FARINA, DARIO; ELIAS, LEONARDO A.; NUCCIO, STEFANO; HUG, FRANCOIS; DEL VECCHIO, ALESSANDRO. Surface EMG cross talk quantified at the motor unit population level for muscles of the hand, thigh, and calf. Journal of Applied Physiology, v. 131, n. 2, p. 808-820, . (17/22191-3)
GERMER, CARINA MARCONI; MOREIRA, LUCIANA SOBRAL; ELIAS, LEONARDO ABDALA. Sinusoidal vibrotactile stimulation differentially improves force steadiness depending on contraction intensity. MEDICAL & BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING & COMPUTING, v. 57, n. 8, p. 1813-1822, . (17/22191-3)
GERMER, CARINA MARCONI; DEL VECCHIO, ALESSANDRO; NEGRO, FRANCESCO; FARINA, DARIO; ELIAS, LEONARDO ABDALA. Neurophysiological correlates of force control improvement induced by sinusoidal vibrotactile stimulation. JOURNAL OF NEURAL ENGINEERING, v. 17, n. 1, . (17/22191-3)

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