Intramuscular coherence enables robust assessment of modulated supra-spinal input in human gait: an inter-dependence study of visual task and walking speed

Freschta Zipser-Mohammadzada*, Marjelle Fredie Scheffers, Bernard A Conway, David M Halliday, Carl Moritz Zipser, Armin Curt, Martin Schubert

*Corresponding author for this work

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Intramuscular high-frequency coherence is increased during visually guided treadmill walking as a consequence of increased supra-spinal input. The influence of walking speed on intramuscular coherence and its inter-trial reproducibility need to be established before adoption as a functional gait assessment tool in clinical settings. Here, fifteen healthy controls performed a normal and a target walking task on a treadmill at various speeds (0.3 m/s, 0.5 m/s, 0.9 m/s, and preferred) during two sessions. Intramuscular coherence was calculated between two surface EMG recordings sites of the Tibialis anterior muscle during the swing phase of walking. The results were averaged across low-frequency (5-14 Hz) and high-frequency (15-55 Hz) bands. The effect of speed, task, and time on mean coherence was assessed using three-way repeated measures ANOVA. Reliability and agreement were calculated with the intra-class correlation coefficient and Bland-Altman method, respectively. Intramuscular coherence during target walking was significantly higher than during normal walking across all walking speeds in the high-frequency band as obtained by the three-way repeated measures ANOVA. Interaction effects between task and speed were found for the low- and high-frequency bands, suggesting that task-dependent differences increase at higher walking speeds. Reliability of intramuscular coherence was moderate to excellent for most normal and target walking tasks in all frequency bands. This study confirms previous reports of increased intramuscular coherence during target walking, while providing first evidence for reproducibility and robustness of this measure as a requirement to investigate supra-spinal input.Trial registration Registry number/ Identifier: NCT03343132, date of registration 2017/11/17.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental brain research
Early online date18 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2023

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