Neural control of hand muscles during prehension

Jamie A. Johnston, Sara A. Winges, Marco Santello

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

20 Scopus citations


In the past two decades a large number of studies have successfully characterized important features of the kinetics and kinematics of object grasping and manipulation, providing significant insight into how the Central Nervous System (CNS) controls the hand, one of the most complex motor systems, in a variety of behaviors. In this chapter we briefly review studies of hand kinematics and kinetics and highlight their major findings and open questions. The major focus of this chapter is on the neural control of the hand, an objective that has been pursued by studies on electromyography (EMG) of hand muscles. Here we review what has been learned through different yet complementary methodological approaches. In particular, the study of single motor unit activity has revealed how the distribution of common neural input within and across hand muscles might reflect a muscle-pair specific organization. Studies of motor unit population have revealed important synergistic patterns of muscle activity while also revealing muscle-pair specific patterns of neural coupling. We conclude the chapter with the results of recent simulation studies aiming at combining advantages of single and multi-unit recordings to maximize the amount of information that can be extracted from EMG signal analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Motor Control
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Perspective
EditorsDagmar Sternad
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neural control of hand muscles during prehension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this