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Electrocorticographica analysis of spontaneous conversation to localize receptive and expressive language areas

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When surgical resection becomes necessary to alleviate a patient's epileptiform activity, that patient is monitored by video synchronized with electrocorticography (ECoG) to determine the type and location of seizure focus. This provides a unique opportunity for researchers to gather neurophysiological

When surgical resection becomes necessary to alleviate a patient's epileptiform activity, that patient is monitored by video synchronized with electrocorticography (ECoG) to determine the type and location of seizure focus. This provides a unique opportunity for researchers to gather neurophysiological data with high temporal and spatial resolution; these data are assessed prior to surgical resection to ensure the preservation of the patient's quality of life, e.g. avoid the removal of brain tissue required for speech processing. Currently considered the "gold standard" for the mapping of cortex, electrical cortical stimulation (ECS) involves the systematic activation of pairs of electrodes to localize functionally specific brain regions. This method has distinct limitations, which often includes pain experienced by the patient. Even in the best cases, the technique suffers from subjective assessments on the parts of both patients and physicians, and high inter- and intra-observer variability. Recent advances have been made as researchers have reported the localization of language areas through several signal processing methodologies, all necessitating patient participation in a controlled experiment. The development of a quantification tool to localize speech areas in which a patient is engaged in an unconstrained interpersonal conversation would eliminate the dependence of biased patient and reviewer input, as well as unnecessary discomfort to the patient. Post-hoc ECoG data were gathered from five patients with intractable epilepsy while each was engaged in a conversation with family members or clinicians. After the data were separated into different speech conditions, the power of each was compared to baseline to determine statistically significant activated electrodes. The results of several analytical methods are presented here. The algorithms did not yield language-specific areas exclusively, as broad activation of statistically significant electrodes was apparent across cortical areas. For one patient, 15 adjacent contacts along superior temporal gyrus (STG) and posterior part of the temporal lobe were determined language-significant through a controlled experiment. The task involved a patient lying in bed listening to repeated words, and yielded statistically significant activations that aligned with those of clinical evaluation. The results of this study do not support the hypothesis that unconstrained conversation may be used to localize areas required for receptive and productive speech, yet suggests a simple listening task may be an adequate alternative to direct cortical stimulation.

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2013

Intracortical microstimulation of somatosensory cortex: functional encoding and localization of neuronal recruitment

Description

Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) within somatosensory cortex can produce artificial sensations including touch, pressure, and vibration. There is significant interest in using ICMS to provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb. In such a system, information recorded from sensors on the

Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) within somatosensory cortex can produce artificial sensations including touch, pressure, and vibration. There is significant interest in using ICMS to provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb. In such a system, information recorded from sensors on the prosthetic would be translated into electrical stimulation and delivered directly to the brain, providing feedback about features of objects in contact with the prosthetic. To achieve this goal, multiple simultaneous streams of information will need to be encoded by ICMS in a manner that produces robust, reliable, and discriminable sensations. The first segment of this work focuses on the discriminability of sensations elicited by ICMS within somatosensory cortex. Stimulation on multiple single electrodes and near-simultaneous stimulation across multiple electrodes, driven by a multimodal tactile sensor, were both used in these experiments. A SynTouch BioTac sensor was moved across a flat surface in several directions, and a subset of the sensor's electrode impedance channels were used to drive multichannel ICMS in the somatosensory cortex of a non-human primate. The animal performed a behavioral task during this stimulation to indicate the discriminability of sensations evoked by the electrical stimulation. The animal's responses to ICMS were somewhat inconsistent across experimental sessions but indicated that discriminable sensations were evoked by both single and multichannel ICMS. The factors that affect the discriminability of stimulation-induced sensations are not well understood, in part because the relationship between ICMS and the neural activity it induces is poorly defined. The second component of this work was to develop computational models that describe the populations of neurons likely to be activated by ICMS. Models of several neurons were constructed, and their responses to ICMS were calculated. A three-dimensional cortical model was constructed using these cell models and used to identify the populations of neurons likely to be recruited by ICMS. Stimulation activated neurons in a sparse and discontinuous fashion; additionally, the type, number, and location of neurons likely to be activated by stimulation varied with electrode depth.

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2013

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Frequency response characteristics of respiratory flow-meters

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Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where the rate of airflow passing the aircraft is used to determine the speed of the plane. A clinical example would be that the flow of a patient's breath which could help determine the state of the patient's lungs. This project is focused on the flow-meter that are used for airflow measurement in human lungs. In order to do these measurements, resistive-type flow-meters are commonly used in respiratory measurement systems. This method consists of passing the respiratory flow through a fluid resistive component, while measuring the resulting pressure drop, which is linearly related to volumetric flow rate. These types of flow-meters typically have a low frequency response but are adequate for most applications, including spirometry and respiration monitoring. In the case of lung parameter estimation methods, such as the Quick Obstruction Method, it becomes important to have a higher frequency response in the flow-meter so that the high frequency components in the flow are measurable. The following three types of flow-meters were: a. Capillary type b. Screen Pneumotach type c. Square Edge orifice type To measure the frequency response, a sinusoidal flow is generated with a small speaker and passed through the flow-meter that is connected to a large, rigid container. True flow is proportional to the derivative of the pressure inside the container. True flow is then compared with the measured flow, which is proportional to the pressure drop across the flow-meter. In order to do the characterization, two LabVIEW data acquisition programs have been developed, one for transducer calibration, and another one that records flow and pressure data for frequency response testing of the flow-meter. In addition, a model that explains the behavior exhibited by the flow-meter has been proposed and simulated. This model contains a fluid resistor and inductor in series. The final step in this project was to approximate the frequency response data to the developed model expressed as a transfer function.

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2013

Enhancing the perception of speech indexical properties of Cochlear implants through sensory substitution

Description

Through decades of clinical progress, cochlear implants have brought the world of speech and language to thousands of profoundly deaf patients. However, the technology has many possible areas for improvement, including providing information of non-linguistic cues, also called indexical properties

Through decades of clinical progress, cochlear implants have brought the world of speech and language to thousands of profoundly deaf patients. However, the technology has many possible areas for improvement, including providing information of non-linguistic cues, also called indexical properties of speech. The field of sensory substitution, providing information relating one sense to another, offers a potential avenue to further assist those with cochlear implants, in addition to the promise they hold for those without existing aids. A user study with a vibrotactile device is evaluated to exhibit the effectiveness of this approach in an auditory gender discrimination task. Additionally, preliminary computational work is included that demonstrates advantages and limitations encountered when expanding the complexity of future implementations.

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2015

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Dexterous manipulation: sensorimotor learning and control

Description

Humans' ability to perform fine object and tool manipulation is a defining feature of their sensorimotor repertoire. How the central nervous system builds and maintains internal representations of such skilled hand-object interactions has attracted significant attention over the past three

Humans' ability to perform fine object and tool manipulation is a defining feature of their sensorimotor repertoire. How the central nervous system builds and maintains internal representations of such skilled hand-object interactions has attracted significant attention over the past three decades. Nevertheless, two major gaps exist: a) how digit positions and forces are coordinated during natural manipulation tasks, and b) what mechanisms underlie the formation and retention of internal representations of dexterous manipulation. This dissertation addresses these two questions through five experiments that are based on novel grip devices and experimental protocols. It was found that high-level representation of manipulation tasks can be learned in an effector-independent fashion. Specifically, when challenged by trial-to-trial variability in finger positions or using digits that were not previously engaged in learning the task, subjects could adjust finger forces to compensate for this variability, thus leading to consistent task performance. The results from a follow-up experiment conducted in a virtual reality environment indicate that haptic feedback is sufficient to implement the above coordination between digit position and forces. However, it was also found that the generalizability of a learned manipulation is limited across tasks. Specifically, when subjects learned to manipulate the same object across different contexts that require different motor output, interference was found at the time of switching contexts. Data from additional studies provide evidence for parallel learning processes, which are characterized by different rates of decay and learning. These experiments have provided important insight into the neural mechanisms underlying learning and control of object manipulation. The present findings have potential biomedical applications including brain-machine interfaces, rehabilitation of hand function, and prosthetics.

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2013

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Effects of arm configuration on patterns of reaching variability in 3D space

Description

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb configuration on endpoint variability have been largely ignored. The present study investigated the effects of arm configuration on the interaction between planning noise and execution noise. Subjects performed reaching movements to three targets located in a frontal plane. At the starting position, subjects matched one of two desired arm configuration 'templates' namely "adducted" and "abducted". These arm configurations were obtained by rotations along the shoulder-hand axis, thereby maintaining endpoint position. Visual feedback of the hand was varied from trial to trial, thereby increasing uncertainty in movement planning and execution. It was hypothesized that 1) pattern of endpoint variability would be dependent on arm configuration and 2) that these differences would be most apparent in conditions without visual feedback. It was found that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but these differences were much larger when visual feedback was withheld. The overall results suggest that patterns of endpoint variability are highly dependent on arm configuration, particularly in the absence of visual feedback. This suggests that in the presence of vision, movement planning in 3D space is performed using coordinates that are largely arm configuration independent (i.e. extrinsic coordinates). In contrast, in the absence of vision, movement planning in 3D space reflects a substantial contribution of intrinsic coordinates.

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2013

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Characterizing feedforward and feedback grasp control mechanisms in early phases of manipulation

Description

Anticipatory planning of digit positions and forces is critical for successful dexterous object manipulation. Anticipatory (feedforward) planning bypasses the inherent delays in reflex responses and sensorimotor integration associated with reactive (feedback) control. It has been suggested that feedforward and feedback

Anticipatory planning of digit positions and forces is critical for successful dexterous object manipulation. Anticipatory (feedforward) planning bypasses the inherent delays in reflex responses and sensorimotor integration associated with reactive (feedback) control. It has been suggested that feedforward and feedback strategies can be distinguished based on the profile of grip and load force rates during the period between initial contact with the object and object lift. However, this has not been validated in tasks that do not constrain digit placement. The purposes of this thesis were (1) to validate the hypothesis that force rate profiles are indicative of the control strategy used for object manipulation and (2) to test this hypothesis by comparing manipulation tasks performed with and without digit placement constraints. The first objective comprised two studies. In the first study an additional light or heavy mass was added to the base of the object. In the second study a mass was added, altering the object's center of mass (CM) location. In each experiment digit force rates were calculated between the times of initial digit contact and object lift. Digit force rates were fit to a Gaussian bell curve and the goodness of fit was compared across predictable and unpredictable mass and CM conditions. For both experiments, a predictable object mass and CM elicited bell shaped force rate profiles, indicative of feedforward control. For the second objective, a comparison of performance between subjects who performed the grasp task with either constrained or unconstrained digit contact locations was conducted. When digit location was unconstrained and CM was predictable, force rates were well fit to a bell shaped curve. However, the goodness of fit of the force rate profiles to the bell shaped curve was weaker for the constrained than the unconstrained digit placement condition. These findings seem to indicate that brain can generate an appropriate feedforward control strategy even when digit placement is unconstrained and an infinite combination of digit placement and force solutions exists to lift the object successfully. Future work is needed that investigates the role digit positioning and tactile feedback has on anticipatory control of object manipulation.

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2011

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Towards adaptive micro-robotic neural interfaces: autonomous navigation of microelectrodes in the brain for optimal neural recording

Description

Advances in implantable MEMS technology has made possible adaptive micro-robotic implants that can track and record from single neurons in the brain. Development of autonomous neural interfaces opens up exciting possibilities of micro-robots performing standard electrophysiological techniques that would previously

Advances in implantable MEMS technology has made possible adaptive micro-robotic implants that can track and record from single neurons in the brain. Development of autonomous neural interfaces opens up exciting possibilities of micro-robots performing standard electrophysiological techniques that would previously take researchers several hundred hours to train and achieve the desired skill level. It would result in more reliable and adaptive neural interfaces that could record optimal neural activity 24/7 with high fidelity signals, high yield and increased throughput. The main contribution here is validating adaptive strategies to overcome challenges in autonomous navigation of microelectrodes inside the brain. The following issues pose significant challenges as brain tissue is both functionally and structurally dynamic: a) time varying mechanical properties of the brain tissue-microelectrode interface due to the hyperelastic, viscoelastic nature of brain tissue b) non-stationarities in the neural signal caused by mechanical and physiological events in the interface and c) the lack of visual feedback of microelectrode position in brain tissue. A closed loop control algorithm is proposed here for autonomous navigation of microelectrodes in brain tissue while optimizing the signal-to-noise ratio of multi-unit neural recordings. The algorithm incorporates a quantitative understanding of constitutive mechanical properties of soft viscoelastic tissue like the brain and is guided by models that predict stresses developed in brain tissue during movement of the microelectrode. An optimal movement strategy is developed that achieves precise positioning of microelectrodes in the brain by minimizing the stresses developed in the surrounding tissue during navigation and maximizing the speed of movement. Results of testing the closed-loop control paradigm in short-term rodent experiments validated that it was possible to achieve a consistently high quality SNR throughout the duration of the experiment. At the systems level, new generation of MEMS actuators for movable microelectrode array are characterized and the MEMS device operation parameters are optimized for improved performance and reliability. Further, recommendations for packaging to minimize the form factor of the implant; design of device mounting and implantation techniques of MEMS microelectrode array to enhance the longevity of the implant are also included in a top-down approach to achieve a reliable brain interface.

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2013

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Feedback paradigm for rehabilitation of people with Parkinson's disease

Description

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that produces a characteristic set of neuromotor deficits that sometimes includes reduced amplitude and velocity of movement. Several studies have shown that people with PD improved their motor performance when presented with

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that produces a characteristic set of neuromotor deficits that sometimes includes reduced amplitude and velocity of movement. Several studies have shown that people with PD improved their motor performance when presented with external cues. Other work has demonstrated that high velocity and large amplitude exercises can increase the amplitude and velocity of movement in simple carryover tasks in the upper and lower extremities. Although the cause for these effects is not known, improvements due to cueing suggest that part of the neuromotor deficit in PD is in the integration of sensory feedback to produce motor commands. Previous studies have documented some somatosensory deficits, but only limited information is available regarding the nature and magnitude of sensorimotor deficits in the shoulder of people with PD. The goals of this research were to characterize the sensorimotor impairment in the shoulder joint of people with PD and to investigate the use of visual feedback and large amplitude/high velocity exercises to target PD-related motor deficits. Two systems were designed and developed to use visual feedback to assess the ability of participants to accurately adjust limb placement or limb movement velocity and to encourage improvements in performance of these tasks. Each system was tested on participants with PD, age-matched control subjects and young control subjects to characterize and compare limb placement and velocity control capabilities. Results demonstrated that participants with PD were less accurate at placing their limbs than age-matched or young control subjects, but that their performance improved over the course of the test session such that by the end, the participants with PD performed as well as controls. For the limb velocity feedback task, participants with PD and age-matched control subjects were less accurate than young control subjects, but at the end of the session, participants with PD and age-matched control subjects were as accurate as the young control subjects. This study demonstrates that people with PD were able to improve their movement patterns based on visual feedback of performance and suggests that this feedback paradigm may be useful in exercise programs for people with PD.

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2015

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Age related changes in balance and gait

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Gait and balance disorders are the second leading cause of falls in the elderly. Investigating the changes in static and dynamic balance due to aging may provide a better understanding of the effects of aging on postural control system. Static

Gait and balance disorders are the second leading cause of falls in the elderly. Investigating the changes in static and dynamic balance due to aging may provide a better understanding of the effects of aging on postural control system. Static and dynamic balance were evaluated in a total of 21 young (21-35 years) and 22 elderly (50-75 years) healthy subjects while they performed three different tasks: quiet standing, dynamic weight shifts, and over ground walking. During the quiet standing task, the subjects stood with their eyes open and eyes closed. When performing dynamic weight shifts task, subjects shifted their Center of Pressure (CoP) from the center target to outward targets and vice versa while following real-time feedback of their CoP. For over ground walking tasks, subjects performed Timed Up and Go test, tandem walking, and regular walking at their self-selected speed. Various quantitative balance and gait measures were obtained to evaluate the above respective balance and walking tasks. Total excursion, sway area, and mean frequency of CoP during quiet standing were found to be the most reliable and showed significant increase with age and absence of visual input. During dynamic shifts, elderly subjects exhibited higher initiation time, initiation path length, movement time, movement path length, and inaccuracy indicating deterioration in performance. Furthermore, the elderly walked with a shorter stride length, increased stride variability, with a greater turn and turn-to-sit duration. Significant correlations were also observed between measures derived from the different balance and gait tasks. Thus, it can be concluded that aging deteriorates the postural control system affecting static and dynamic balance and some of the alterations in CoP and gait measures may be considered as protective mechanisms to prevent loss of balance.

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2014