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There is increasing evidence that the primary motor cortex is involved in the generation of electromyographic (EMG) oscillations at frequencies in the range of 15-30 Hz that are observed during performance of a precision grip task. Since the level of the corticomuscular coherence varies according to the nature of the object that is gripped, it seemed possible that somatosensory inputs from the hand might affect this coherence. The aim of this study was to investigate whether interrupting cutaneous inputs from the digits would affect the coherence between hand muscles during precision grip of a compliant object. Subjects performed a precision grip hold-ramp-hold task before, during and after digital nerve anaesthesia of the index finger and thumb. There were marked deficits in the performance of the task, particularly during the initial formation of the grip and first hold period. Local digital nerve anaesthesia reduced but did not abolish 14-31 Hz coherence between EMG activity recorded from different hand and forearm muscles. Coherence was measured during the second hold phase of the task. Digital nerve anaesthesia did not affect the predominant frequencies in the EMG power spectra compiled from the same phase of the task. We conclude that during a precision grip task, cutaneous input enhances oscillatory synchrony between pairs of hand muscles.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





207 - 214


Adult, Anesthetics, Local, Confidence Intervals, Electromyography, Female, Fingers, Hand Strength, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Peripheral Nerves, Thumb