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The effects of deep brain stimulation amplitude on motor performance in Parkinson's disease

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The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been convincingly demonstrated in studies that compare motor performance with and without stimulation, but characterization of performance at intermediate stimulation amplitudes has been limited. This study investigated the

The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been convincingly demonstrated in studies that compare motor performance with and without stimulation, but characterization of performance at intermediate stimulation amplitudes has been limited. This study investigated the effects of changing DBS amplitude in order to assess dose-response characteristics, inter-subject variability, consistency of effect across outcome measures, and day-to-day variability. Eight subjects with PD and bilateral DBS systems were evaluated at their clinically determined stimulation (CDS) and at three reduced amplitude conditions: approximately 70%, 30%, and 0% of the CDS (MOD, LOW, and OFF, respectively). Overall symptom severity and performance on a battery of motor tasks - gait, postural control, single-joint flexion-extension, postural tremor, and tapping - were assessed at each condition using the motor section of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS-III) and quantitative measures. Data were analyzed to determine whether subjects demonstrated a threshold response (one decrement in stimulation resulted in ≥ 70% of the maximum change) or a graded response to reduced stimulation. Day-to-day variability was assessed using the CDS data from the three testing sessions. Although the cohort as a whole demonstrated a graded response on several measures, there was high variability across subjects, with subsets exhibiting graded, threshold, or minimal responses. Some subjects experienced greater variability in their CDS performance across the three days than the change induced by reducing stimulation. For several tasks, a subset of subjects exhibited improved performance at one or more of the reduced conditions. Reducing stimulation did not affect all subjects equally, nor did it uniformly affect each subject's performance across tasks. These results indicate that altered recruitment of neural structures can differentially affect motor capabilities and demonstrate the need for clinical consideration of the effects on multiple symptoms across several days when selecting DBS parameters.

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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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Comparison of feature selection methods for robust dexterous decoding of finger movements from the primary motor cortex of a non-human primate using support vector machine

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Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to

Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to individual flexions and extensions of the same digits. An array of microelectrodes was implanted in the hand area of the motor cortex of the NHP and used to record action potentials during finger movements. A Support Vector Machine (SVM) was used to classify which finger movement the NHP was making based upon action potential firing rates. The effect of four feature selection techniques, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Relative Importance, Principal Component Analysis, and Mutual Information Maximization was compared based on SVM classification performance. SVM classification was used to examine the functional parameters of (i) efficacy (ii) endurance to simulated failure and (iii) longevity of classification. The effect of using isolated-neuron and multi-unit firing rates was compared as the feature vector supplied to the SVM. The best classification performance was on post-implantation day 36, when using multi-unit firing rates the worst classification accuracy resulted from features selected with Wilcoxon signed-rank test (51.12 ± 0.65%) and the best classification accuracy resulted from Mutual Information Maximization (93.74 ± 0.32%). On this day when using single-unit firing rates, the classification accuracy from the Wilcoxon signed-rank test was 88.85 ± 0.61 % and Mutual Information Maximization was 95.60 ± 0.52% (degrees of freedom =10, level of chance =10%)

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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

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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

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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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Influence of sensorimotor noise on the planning and control of reaching in 3-dimensional space

Description

The ability to plan, execute, and control goal oriented reaching and grasping movements is among the most essential functions of the brain. Yet, these movements are inherently variable; a result of the noise pervading the neural signals underlying sensorimotor processing.

The ability to plan, execute, and control goal oriented reaching and grasping movements is among the most essential functions of the brain. Yet, these movements are inherently variable; a result of the noise pervading the neural signals underlying sensorimotor processing. The specific influences and interactions of these noise processes remain unclear. Thus several studies have been performed to elucidate the role and influence of sensorimotor noise on movement variability. The first study focuses on sensory integration and movement planning across the reaching workspace. An experiment was designed to examine the relative contributions of vision and proprioception to movement planning by measuring the rotation of the initial movement direction induced by a perturbation of the visual feedback prior to movement onset. The results suggest that contribution of vision was relatively consistent across the evaluated workspace depths; however, the influence of vision differed between the vertical and later axes indicate that additional factors beyond vision and proprioception influence movement planning of 3-dimensional movements. If the first study investigated the role of noise in sensorimotor integration, the second and third studies investigate relative influence of sensorimotor noise on reaching performance. Specifically, they evaluate how the characteristics of neural processing that underlie movement planning and execution manifest in movement variability during natural reaching. Subjects performed reaching movements with and without visual feedback throughout the movement and the patterns of endpoint variability were compared across movement directions. The results of these studies suggest a primary role of visual feedback noise in shaping patterns of variability and in determining the relative influence of planning and execution related noise sources. The final work considers a computational approach to characterizing how sensorimotor processes interact to shape movement variability. A model of multi-modal feedback control was developed to simulate the interaction of planning and execution noise on reaching variability. The model predictions suggest that anisotropic properties of feedback noise significantly affect the relative influence of planning and execution noise on patterns of reaching variability.

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2012

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Limb position estimation: neural mechanisms and consequences for movement production

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An accurate sense of upper limb position is crucial to reaching movements where sensory information about upper limb position and target location is combined to specify critical features of the movement plan. This dissertation was dedicated to studying the mechanisms

An accurate sense of upper limb position is crucial to reaching movements where sensory information about upper limb position and target location is combined to specify critical features of the movement plan. This dissertation was dedicated to studying the mechanisms of how the brain estimates the limb position in space and the consequences of misestimation of limb position on movements. Two independent but related studies were performed. The first involved characterizing the neural mechanisms of limb position estimation in the non-human primate brain. Single unit recordings were obtained in area 5 of the posterior parietal cortex in order to examine the role of this area in estimating limb position based on visual and somatic signals (proprioceptive, efference copy). When examined individually, many area 5 neurons were tuned to the position of the limb in the workspace but very few neurons were modulated by visual feedback. At the population level however decoding of limb position was somewhat more accurate when visual feedback was provided. These findings support a role for area 5 in limb position estimation but also suggest that visual signals regarding limb position are only weakly represented in this area, and only at the population level. The second part of this dissertation focused on the consequences of misestimation of limb position for movement production. It is well known that limb movements are inherently variable. This variability could be the result of noise arising at one or more stages of movement production. Here we used biomechanical modeling and simulation techniques to characterize movement variability resulting from noise in estimating limb position ('sensing noise') and in planning required movement vectors ('planning noise'), and compared that to the variability expected due to noise in movement execution. We found that the effects of sensing and planning related noise on movement variability were dependent upon both the planned movement direction and the initial configuration of the arm and were different in many respects from the effects of execution noise.

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2011

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Transfer of motor learning from a virtual to real task using EEG signals resulting from embodied and abstract thoughts

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This research is focused on two separate but related topics. The first uses an electroencephalographic (EEG) brain-computer interface (BCI) to explore the phenomenon of motor learning transfer. The second takes a closer look at the EEG-BCI itself and tests an

This research is focused on two separate but related topics. The first uses an electroencephalographic (EEG) brain-computer interface (BCI) to explore the phenomenon of motor learning transfer. The second takes a closer look at the EEG-BCI itself and tests an alternate way of mapping EEG signals into machine commands. We test whether motor learning transfer is more related to use of shared neural structures between imagery and motor execution or to more generalized cognitive factors. Using an EEG-BCI, we train one group of participants to control the movements of a cursor using embodied motor imagery. A second group is trained to control the cursor using abstract motor imagery. A third control group practices moving the cursor using an arm and finger on a touch screen. We hypothesized that if motor learning transfer is related to the use of shared neural structures then the embodied motor imagery group would show more learning transfer than the abstract imaging group. If, on the other hand, motor learning transfer results from more general cognitive processes, then the abstract motor imagery group should also demonstrate motor learning transfer to the manual performance of the same task. Our findings support that motor learning transfer is due to the use of shared neural structures between imaging and motor execution of a task. The abstract group showed no motor learning transfer despite being better at EEG-BCI control than the embodied group. The fact that more participants were able to learn EEG-BCI control using abstract imagery suggests that abstract imagery may be more suitable for EEG-BCIs for some disabilities, while embodied imagery may be more suitable for others. In Part 2, EEG data collected in the above experiment was used to train an artificial neural network (ANN) to map EEG signals to machine commands. We found that our open-source ANN using spectrograms generated from SFFTs is fundamentally different and in some ways superior to Emotiv's proprietary method. Our use of novel combinations of existing technologies along with abstract and embodied imagery facilitates adaptive customization of EEG-BCI control to meet needs of individual users.

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2013