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BioMedical Engineering OnLine

, 6:1

First Online: 02 January 2007Received: 26 May 2006Accepted: 02 January 2007


BackgroundCurrent devices for measuring muscle contraction in vivo have limited accuracy in establishing and re-establishing the optimum muscle length. They are variable in the reproducibility to determine the muscle contraction at this length, and often do not maintain precise conditions during the examination. Consequently, for clinical testing only semi-quantitative methods have been used.

MethodsWe present a newly developed myograph, an accurate measuring device for muscle contraction, consisting of three elements. Firstly, an element for adjusting the axle of the device and the physiological axis of muscle contraction; secondly, an element to accurately position and reposition the extremity of the muscle; and thirdly, an element for the progressive pre-stretching and isometric locking of the target muscle.

Thus it is possible to examine individual in vivo muscles in every pre-stretched, specified position, to maintain constant muscle-length conditions, and to accurately re-establish the conditions of the measurement process at later sessions.

ResultsIn a sequence of experiments the force of contraction of the muscle at differing stretching lengths were recorded and the forces determined. The optimum muscle length for maximal force of contraction was established. In a following sequence of experiments with smaller graduations around this optimal stretching length an increasingly accurate optimum muscle length for maximal force of contraction was determined. This optimum length was also accurately re-established at later sessions.

ConclusionWe have introduced a new technical solution for valid, reproducible in vivo force measurements on every possible point of the stretching curve. Thus it should be possible to study the muscle contraction in vivo to the same level of accuracy as is achieved in tests with in vitro organ preparations.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1475-925X-6-1 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Niels Rahe-Meyer - Christian Weilbach - Matthias Karst - Matthias Pawlak - Aminul Ahmed - Siegfried Piepenbrock - Michael W


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