Webinar #2: Detecting motor unit pathophysiology in ALS using high-density surface EMG, by Dr. James Bashford

MAY 28, 2020 16.00 CEST | Dr James Bashford MA MRCP PhD

The second webinar is a talk by Dr James Bashford. He will talk about the application of high-density surface EMG for detecting motor unit pathophysiology in ALS. Dr. Bashford will also talk on how HD EMG could contribute to outcome measures in for example clinical drug trials. On May 28, 2020 16:00 CEST we will be hosting the webinar. Subscribe using the button on the right!

About the talk

The motor unit is a fundamental building block of the motor nervous system. Comprising the anterior horn cell, its axonal projections and the associated muscle fibres, the motor unit is the central nervous system’s structural and physiological link with skeletal muscles. But are all motor units created equal? How is their firing controlled and what happens when this control is lost in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)? With particular focus on fasciculations and motor unit decomposition, Dr. Bashford will explore how we have been addressing these questions at King’s using high-density surface electromyography. This is a relatively new technique that is non-invasive and extremely well tolerated by patients for long periods of time. This is providing unprecedented precision during the quantification of motor unit activity, demonstrating excellent spatial and temporal resolution. A recent 14-month prospective study at King’s has indicated that fasciculation frequencies (number per minute) first rise in ALS patients while muscles remain strong, before rapidly declining in weak muscles. Results like this could improve the utility and accessibility of outcome measures in clinical drug trials. Dr. Bashford will also discuss ideas for the future, as we strive to introduce home-based monitoring.

About the speaker

Dr James Bashford MA MRCP PhD graduated from Cambridge University medical school in 2010 and began specialist neurology training at King’s College London in 2015. His PhD (2016-2019) concentrated on the detection of spontaneous muscle twitches (fasciculations) in ALS patients. He is currently a clinical research fellow at King’s focusing on the development of novel neurophysiological biomarkers


  1. Fasciculations demonstrate daytime consistency in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Bashford, U Masood, A Wickham, R Iniesta, E Drakakis, M Boutelle, K Mills, C Shaw. 2020. Muscle Nerve [e-pub ahead of print]
  2. The rise and fall of fasciculations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.J Bashford, A Wickham, R Iniesta, E Drakakis, M Boutelle, K Mills, C Shaw. 2020. Brain Commun, Volume 2, Issue 1.
  3. The evolving role of surface electromyography in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.J Bashford, K Mills & C Shaw. 2020. Clin Neurophysiol, Volume 131, Issue 4, p942-950.
  4. Preprocessing surface EMG data removes voluntary muscle activity and enhances SPiQE fasciculation analysis.J Bashford, A Wickham, R Iniesta, E Drakakis, M Boutelle, K Mills, C Shaw. Clin Neurophysiol, Volume 131, January 2020, p265-273.
  5. SPiQE: an automated analytical tool for detecting and characterising fasciculations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Bashford, A Wickham, R Iniesta, E Drakakis, M Boutelle, K Mills, C Shaw. Clin Neurophysiol,Volume 130, Issue 7, July 2019, p1083-1090.

About the TMSi Webinar series Expert Talks

TMSi organizes several webinars in the coming period on various applications. The webinars are free of charge and cover a variety of applications you can research using TMSi systems. You may expect talks on a variety of topics, such as clinical applications for high density EMG and EEG. We will announce the talks via our LinkedIn page and website. Registration is free and each session will consist of approximately 30 minutes presentation and 15 minutes discussion, for a total of 45 minutes.

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