Inter-muscular coherence and functional coordination in the human upper extremity after stroke

Hongming Liu, Yunyuan Gao, Wei Huang, Rihui Li, Michael Houston, Julia S. Benoit, Jinsook Roh, Yingchun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Muscle coordination and motor function of stroke patients are weakened by stroke-related motor impairments. Our earlier studies have determined alterations in inter-muscular coordination patterns (muscle synergies). However, the functional connectivity of these synergistically paired or unpaired muscles is still unclear in stroke patients. The goal of this study is to quantify the alterations of inter-muscular coherence (IMC) among upper extremity muscles that have been shown to be synergistically or non-synergistically activated in stroke survivors. In a three-dimensional isometric force matching task, surface EMG signals are collected from 6 age-matched, neurologically intact healthy subjects and 10 stroke patients, while the target force space is divided into 8 subspaces. According to the results of muscle synergy identification with non-negative matrix factorization algorithm, muscle pairs are classified as synergistic and non-synergistic. In both control and stroke groups, IMC is then calculated for all available muscle pairs. The results show that synergistic muscle pairs have higher coherence in both groups. Furthermore, anterior and middle deltoids, identified as synergistic muscles in both groups, exhibited significantly weaker IMC at alpha band in stroke patients. The anterior and posterior deltoids, identified as synergistic muscles only in stroke patients, revealed significantly higher IMC in stroke group at low gamma band. On the contrary, anterior deltoid and pectoralis major, identified as synergistic muscles in control group only, revealed significantly higher IMC in control group in alpha band. The results of muscle synergy and IMC analyses provide congruent and complementary information for investigating the mechanism that underlies post-stroke motor recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4506-4525
Number of pages20
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 4 2022


  • Electromyography
  • Inter-muscular coherence
  • Muscle synergy
  • Non-negative matrix factorization
  • Stroke
  • Humans
  • Shoulder
  • Upper Extremity
  • Muscle, Skeletal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation


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