A Brain Motor Control Assessment (BMCA) protocol for upper limb function Academic Article uri icon


  • The Brain Motor Control Assessment (BMCA) protocol is a surface electromyography (sEMG)-based measure of motor output from central nervous system during a variety of reflex and voluntary motor tasks performed under strictly controlled conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the BMCA protocol for upper limb with the addition of shoulder voluntary tasks. The voluntary response index (VRI) was calculated from quantitative analysis of sEMG data during defined voluntary movement in neurologically intact people for comparison with that of patients after neurological injuries. The BMCA protocol included one bilateral and 4 unilateral voluntary tasks at different joints of both arms. The VRI, measured from 19 neurologically intact participants, comprises the total muscle activity recorded for the voluntary motor task (magnitude). The calculated similarity index (SI) for each phase of each task show the similarity of "the distribution of activity across the recorded muscles" for that task in this group off participants.The VRI magnitude values from right and left sides for different tasks showed no significant difference (ANOVA: FSide: 0.09, P = 0.77). Therefore these values were pooled before calculating SI. SI values were higher for tasks against gravity: elbow flexion (0.99±0.03), wrist flexion with palm up (0.98±0.03) and wrist extension with palm down (0.97±0.07). On the other hand, the SI values were the lowest for bilateral shoulder abduction (0.84±0.08) and shoulder adduction (0.84±0.08).To validate this index for clinical use, serial studies on patients with neurological impairments should be performed. Tasks involving movement against gravity may be more suitable in future BMCAs.

publication date

  • 2013