By Bhagwan T. Shahani
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Abnormal force-EMG relations in paretic limbs of hemiparetic human subjects. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry 44:690-698. , and Kato, M. 1973. Firing rate of individual motor units in voluntary contraction of abductor digiti minimi muscle in man. Exp. Neurol. 40:771-783. Taylor, A. 1962. The significance of grouping of motor unit activity. J. Physiol. ) 162:259-269. ; and Cannet, G. 1981. Functioning of the ensemble of motor units of the muscle determined from global EMG signal. Electromyogr. Clin.
The classical mechanism of the stretch reflex involves excitation of primary endings of muscle spindle stretch receptors, whose activity causes, via a monosynaptic spinal pathway, a reflex discharge of motoneurons connected to that muscle and to other synergistic muscles. T o this now must be added the effects of monosynaptic excitation of motoneurons by secondary spindle endings (Kirkwood and Sears 1974). The tendon jerk is envisaged as a "fractional manifestation" of the stretch reflex. Thus, "Tendon-jerks are regarded as the phasic reaction' of the stretch reflex, whereas the slower and longer continued pull of the tendon evokes, by continued excitation from the same reflex path, the 'static reaction' of the stretch reflex" (Creed et al.
The structural anatomists and the electroanatomists also have added to the concept. Following the original observations of Oscarsson and Rosen (1963, 1966) of projections from both muscle and skin of the forelimb onto neurons in area 3a in the cat, similar observations were made in the monkey (Phillips, Powell, and Wiesendanger, 1971). There seems little doubt that area 3a receives an input from group I muscle afférents. Other electrophysiologic experiments have shown that stimuli to muscle nerves (Wiesendanger 1973) or muscle stretch (Hore et al.