A method for discrimination of noise and EMG signal regions recorded during rhythmic behaviors.
Analyses of muscular activity during rhythmic behaviors provide critical data for biomechanical studies. Electrical potentials measured from muscles using electromyography (EMG) require discrimination of noise regions as the first step in analysis. An experienced analyst can accurately identify the onset and offset of EMG but this process takes hours to analyze a short (10-15s) record of rhythmic EMG bursts. Existing computational techniques reduce this time but have limitations. These include a universal threshold for delimiting noise regions (i.e., a single signal value for identifying the EMG signal onset and offset), pre-processing using wide time intervals that dampen sensitivity for EMG signal characteristics, poor performance when a low frequency component (e.g., DC offset) is present, and high computational complexity leading to lack of time efficiency. We present a new statistical method and MATLAB script (EMG-Extractor) that includes an adaptive algorithm to discriminate noise regions from EMG that avoids these limitations and allows for multi-channel datasets to be processed. We evaluate the EMG-Extractor with EMG data on mammalian jaw-adductor muscles during mastication, a rhythmic behavior typified by low amplitude onsets/offsets and complex signal pattern. The EMG-Extractor consistently and accurately distinguishes noise from EMG in a manner similar to that of an experienced analyst. It outputs the raw EMG signal region in a form ready for further analysis.
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