Quantifying and comparing stroke upper-limb muscle activity and function using the Emego EMG Biofeedback system, the ARAT and the MRC Oxford Grading Scale.

There are lots of ways to measure arm function after a stroke, even with stroke survivors who have little or no arm movement. Normally the brain sends an electrical signal to the muscle to move the arm, however, after a stroke the signal may be weaker. Some stroke survivors who cannot move their arms may still have some electrical signals telling the arm to move but the signal may just not be strong enough to move the arm. Electromyography (EMG) is a test, which involves placing an electrode (a small sensor) on the arm (muscle) to measure the amount of electrical activity there is in the muscle(s).

This study aims to use three measurements 1. to measure arm function, 2. if any muscle contraction can be felt, and 3. how much electrical activity your arm muscles have. 

These three measurements are described further below:

1. Task to measure function:

This is called the Action Research Arm Test (ARAT). This involves the stroke survivor conducting a number of small tasks and they get a score at the end that should show how capable they are to use their affected arm after a stroke. Some people who take part in this study may have completed the ARAT before.

 2. Task to measure if any muscle contraction can be felt:

This is called the Medical Research Council (MRC) (Oxford) Scale. To do this the researcher will ask you to try and contract the stroke survivors muscle(s) whilst they feel if there is any contraction or activity in the muscle(s).

3. Task to measure how much electrical activity your arm muscles have:

This is called the Emego. It involves small dry electrodes which are placed on the stroke survivor's arm muscles. It is also known as Electromyography (EMG), which some people may have heard of before. It is linked to a computer that measures your muscle activity. For this study, we ask the stroke survivor to try and move their arm and it doesn’t matter if they are unable to move the arm itself. The Emego will see if how much electrical activity the arm muscles have. This doesn’t hurt, it is not dangerous and it is already used in other conditions so we know it is safe. If the Emego works well with this study we can look to test it further so it can be used to help other stroke survivors with their arm movement rehabilitation in the future. In particular, we want to help stroke survivors to be able to use the Emego on their own and see how much electrical activity they have in their muscles to try to increase it.

Contact for further information or to take part in the study:

You can contact the research team using any of the following methods:

Dr Jack Parker (study lead) Tel: 0114 2228272 jack.parker@sheffield.ac.uk

University of Sheffield

Regent Court, 30 Regent Street

Sheffield, S1 4DA