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Is it possible to measure the neuron activity on body parts like the back or the arm? Or is this done already?

Of course neuron activity can be measured on the scalp using an EEG. I wonder if similar technology could be used to do the same on other parts of the body.

I know there is EMG which measures muscle activity and that's also easier to measure as the voltages are multiple orders of magnitude higher. But I imagine that one could get much richer data by directly sampling neuron activity.

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  • $\begingroup$ To meausure single-unit neuron activity you need to use a microelectrode system, but it is very invasive. How useful the information collected depends on what you searching for. If you interest in neurophysilogy its the way to go, if you interested actual outcomes then the average neural response to stimulus is actually more useful $\endgroup$ – SciEnt Jul 3 '16 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @SciEnt OK, for single neurons one needs (very) invasive sensors. Can you get any statistically stable measurements when you just attach a bunch of sensors and measure all neurons there at once, non-invasively? $\endgroup$ – Philip Jul 4 '16 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ (When measuring EEG you don't measure single neurons either, however with multiple sensors one could measure location based somehow, as far as I understood) $\endgroup$ – Philip Jul 4 '16 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ yes, after processing you do get a good stable signal. Computational work uses these neural averages as 'the' signal. In the end synchonicity of neurons working together is what really matters. I have found " Theoretical Neuroscience: Computational and Mathematical Modeling of Neural Systems " really useful $\endgroup$ – SciEnt Jul 5 '16 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @SciEnt Thanks a lot, this very much answers my question! I guess I have an interesting read now ;) (If you like to make an 'official' answer out of it, I would mark it as answered...) $\endgroup$ – Philip Jul 5 '16 at 11:05
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To measure single-unit neuron activity you need to use a microelectrode system, but it is very invasive. How useful the information collected depends on what you searching for. If you interest in studying the neurophysiology of neurons its good way to go. If on the other hand, you are interested actual outcomes stimulation then the average neural response is actually more useful.

Computational work often uses these neural averages as 'the' signal. In the end synchronicity of neurons working together is what really matters in achieving higher order functions.

A good book I have found " Theoretical Neuroscience: Computational and Mathematical Modeling of Neural Systems " by Dayan P., Abbott, LF., (2005) really insightful into how brain activity is measured and analyzed. Prior knowledge in Calculus and Statistics will greatly help make sense of the math, but even without it is enlightening.

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