Multiple motor unit recordings of laryngeal muscles: the technique of vector laryngeal electromyography.
OBJECTIVES: To display time-series firing rate and recruitment data for multiple, simultaneously active motoneurons activating human laryngeal muscles. These data provide specific information about how laryngeal muscle force is being controlled by the central nervous system at the level of the lower motoneuron. METHODS: A quadrifilar needle electrode was used to record multi-channel myoelectric signals from thyroarytenoid muscle of normal subjects during tasks ranging from quiet breathing to a short sentence. Motor unit action potentials of the signal space were identified and tracked throughout task productions using pattern recognition and Precision Decomposition software. RESULTS: We present the first recordings and analyses of multiple motor unit activations in the larynx. The firing times and mean firing rates are plotted for each identified motor unit, which reveal recruitment and decruitment information and the database from which common firing statistics across motor units may be derived. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides new information about neuromuscular physiology of the larynx. Specifically, the results reveal the ordered recruitment and firing patterns of multiple motor units and the existence of common drive from the central nervous system. The technique may prove fundamental to understanding various neuromuscular pathologies such as laryngeal spasm and to assist clinical prognosis of laryngeal paresis and the diagnosis of certain neurogenic disorders.
Roark, RM; Li, JC; Schaefer, SD; Adam, A; De Luca, CJ
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