A variety of techniques are employed in the Integrative Neuromuscular Physiology Laboratory to allow a comprehensive assessment of both electrical and mechanical elements to the motor system. Neural excitability (surface and intramuscular electromyography) and functional output (muscle force and power) are tested during voluntary contraction and in response to external stimuli applied to different levels of the nervous system. Stimulation techniques include transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex (brain), electric or magnetic stimulation of the corticospinal tract (spinal cord) and electric or magnetic stimulation of peripheral nerves and muscle fibres. Via collaborations within the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, complementary techniques such as ultrasound imaging, robotic assessment of sensorimotor and cognitive function (KINARM End-Point Lab) and galvanic vestibular stimulation are used to help address broader research questions.
An example of transcranial magnetic stimulation during a brief maximal voluntary contraction