Background: Spatial filtering of multi-channel signals is considered to be an effective pre-processing approach for improving signal-to-noise ratio. The use of spatial filtering for preprocessing high-density (HD) surface electromyogram (sEMG) helps to extract critical spatial information, but its application to non-invasive examination of neuromuscular changes have not been well investigated.
Methods: Aimed at evaluating how spatial filtering can facilitate examination of muscle paralysis, three different spatial filtering methods are presented using principle component analysis (PCA) algorithm, non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) algorithm, and both combination, respectively. Their performance was evaluated in terms of diagnostic power, through HD-sEMG clustering index (CI) analysis of neuromuscular changes in paralyzed muscles following spinal cord injury (SCI).
Results: The experimental results showed that: 1) The CI analysis of conventional single-channel sEMG can reveal complex neuromuscular changes in paralyzed muscles following SCI, and its diagnostic power has been confirmed to be characterized by the variance of Z-scores; 2) the diagnostic power was highly dependent on the location of sEMG recording channel. Directly averaging the CI diagnostic indicators over channels just reached a medium level of the diagnostic power; 3) the use of either PCA-based or NMF-based filtering method yielded a greater diagnostic power, and their combination could even enhance the diagnostic power significantly.
Conclusions: This study not only presents an essential preprocessing approach for improving diagnostic power of HD-sEMG, but also helps to develop a standard sEMG preprocessing pipeline, thus promoting its widespread application.