The relations between surface EMG and isometric force generated by elbow flexor muscles were compared in normal and paretic limbs of 17 hemiparetic human subjects. Similar analyses were performed on both arms of 11 normal subjects. In almost half of the hemiparetic subjects examined (8/17), the slope of the relation between elbow flexion force and surface EMG, measured over the biceps-brachialis and brachioradialis muscle groups was increased in the paretic limb. A mechanism based on anomalous reductions in mean motor unit discharge rate in paretic muscles is advanced as the most likely cause of the findings.
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