A Preliminary Study of Effects of Channel Number and Location on the Repeatability of Motor Unit Number Index (MUNIX)

Farong Gao, Yueying Cao, Chuan Zhang, Yingchun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Motor Unit Number Index (MUNIX) is a technique that provides a susceptive biomarker for monitoring innervation conditions in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. A satisfactory repeatability is essential for the interpretation of MUNIX results. This study aims to examine the effect of channel number and location on the repeatability of MUNIX. In this study, 128 channels of high-density surface electromyography (EMG) signals were recorded from the biceps brachii muscles of eight healthy participants, at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 100% of maximal voluntary contraction. The repeatability was defined by the coefficient of variation (CV) of MUNIX estimated from three experiment trials. Single-channel MUNIX (sMUNIX) was calculated on a channel-specific basis and a multi-channel MUNIX (mMUNIX) approach as the weighted average of multiple sMUNIX results. Results have shown (1) significantly improved repeatability with the proposed mMUNIX approach; (2) a higher variability of sMUNIX when the recording channel is positioned away from the innervation zone. Our results have demonstrated that (1) increasing the number of EMG channels and (2) placing recording channels close to the innervation zone (IZ) are effective methods to improve the repeatability of MUNIX. This study investigated two potential causes of MUNIX variations and provided novel perspectives to improve the repeatability, using high-density surface EMG. The mMUNIX technique proposed can serve as a promising tool for reliable neurodegeneration evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number191
Pages (from-to)191
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - Mar 17 2020


  • channel number
  • high-density
  • innervation zone
  • motor unit number index
  • repeatability
  • surface electromyography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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