Single Motor Unit Lab - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Single Motor Unit Lab

The Single Motor Unit Laboratory strives to understand how the nervous system controls the motor units within a muscle to enable the generation of smooth and precise changes in overall muscle force.  We also seek to investigate the role of intrinsic properties of the motoneurons that innervate the relevant muscle fiber populations in providing such control.

To help us understand the neural mechanisms contributing to impairment of human voluntary motion, we record the discharge of motor units during voluntary and reflex contractions in patients with neurological disorders such as stroke, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and spinal cord injury.

The effects of different clinical interventions are also being investigated in order to aid the design of rehabilitation strategies targeting specific motor unit properties. We use computer models to gain a better understanding of the operation of the motoneuron pool, and also to pursue technical developments to improve techniques that are used in the identification and analysis of motor unit activation patterns.

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