Quantitative evaluation of normal muscle tone

Fabrizio Pisano, Giacinta Miscio, Roberto Colombo, Paolo Pinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Forty-eight normal subjects were evaluated for the purpose of objectively quantifying muscle tone, Flexor carpi radialis and extensor digitorum communis electromyographic (EMG) activity was simultaneously recorded during wrist movements imposed by a torque motor. Each session was subdivided into three steps: (1) measurement of the 'intrinsic stiffness index' (ISI) at 10°/s; (2) measurement of the 'total stiffness index' (TSI) at 500°/s; (3) evaluation of the stretch reflex threshold speed (SRTS). No stretch reflex (SR) was found in about half of the subjects, even at the highest speed. ISI was higher in males (p <0.001); significant differences in TSI were found between subjects with SR and those without (p <0.02); no statistical differences in SRTS were found for either age or gender. ISI, TSI and SRTS, appear to be reliable indices of the range of normal muscle tone for its quantitative assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-172
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1996


  • Biomechanical device
  • EMG
  • Muscle tone
  • Shortening reaction
  • Stiffness
  • Stretch reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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