Matching Items (88)

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Using Graphene as a Flex Resistor to Detect Biodynamics

Description

Over the past 30 years the use of graphene has been increasing at a rapid rate. The reason why graphene has become more popular is because it is starting to be understood better, and researchers are starting to recognize graphene’s

Over the past 30 years the use of graphene has been increasing at a rapid rate. The reason why graphene has become more popular is because it is starting to be understood better, and researchers are starting to recognize graphene’s unique properties. Graphene is a single atomic layer of graphite, and graphite is a three-dimensional cube base structure of carbon. Graphite has a high conductivity rate, and graphene has an even higher conductivity, meaning that graphene makes for an excellent resistor in any hardware system. Graphene is flexible, has high durability, and can vary in resistance based on its shape (Sharon 2015). With graphene being able to change its resistivity, it can act as different types of sensors. These sensors include measuring pressure, resistance, force, strain, and angle. One problem across the globe is that patients have arthritis, decaying bone density, and injuries which can easily go mistreated or not treated at all. It can be hard to determine the severity of injuries in joints by observation of the patient. There are tools and equipment that will allow a doctor to track the force and degrees of motion of certain joints, but they are mostly limited to hospitals. With graphene acting as a sensor it can be embedded into casts, braces, and even clothing. With a mobile sensor that relays accurate and continuous data to a doctor they can more precisely determine a therapy or recovery time that will better suit the patients’ needs. In this project the graphene was used to measure the angle of a patient’s wrist while they were wearing a wrist brace. From the data collected, the graphene was able to track the user’s movement of their wrist as they moved it in a single direction. The data showed the angle of the wrist ranging from zero degrees to 90 degrees. This proves that graphene can shape the way biosensing is accomplished. Biodynamics is a growing field, and with more injuries everyday it is important to study graphene and how it can be used to diagnose and prevent injuries related to joints. Graphene can be used as a biosensor which can then be implemented into a brace to allow for accurate biodynamic tracking.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Lessons from CRISPR: Establishing an Ethical Framework for Emerging Neurological Devices

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The avalanche of ongoing bioscience research has resulted in an unprecedented range of opportunities for the creation of new medical diagnostics and therapies. As the potential to develop treatments for the human body expands, the ability to control, modify, and

The avalanche of ongoing bioscience research has resulted in an unprecedented range of opportunities for the creation of new medical diagnostics and therapies. As the potential to develop treatments for the human body expands, the ability to control, modify, and interfere with abstract parts of an individual's self increases. While basic components of the self - such as the mind, consciousness, and personality - can presently only be altered by natural processes and diseases, current and emerging technologies that can cause changes in the self are in development. It is likely that as understanding of the brain and mind increases, scientists and engineers will be develop the ability to alter the mind and consciousness in profound new ways. Such a paradigm shift will be fraught with ethical concerns, and if those concerns are not handled in an appropriate manner, there is significant potential for harm. This potential for causing harm is not without precedent. Genome editing technology is an area of research which deals with an element of the fundamental self. In recent years, advancements in genome editing technology in the form of the CRISPR/Cas9 system have caused alarm and debate within scientific communities concerning the ethicalness of its use and application. Using lessons learned from the ways in which the CRISPR technology has been beneficially used, an ethical framework might be developed in order to guide the development of emerging neurotechnology. Early implementation of a framework such as the one herein proposed could guide research that is already being conducted. There is still time to influence the way that neurological device research is conducted, and it is duty of ethical scientists in this field to understand and correct these problems clearly and quickly so as to prevent harm. An ethical framework that is consistent with current ethical standards and understandings might be created by reviewing the history and development of CRISPR.

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Date Created
2018-12

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Dynamic Changes in Heart Rate and Cerebral Blood Flow During Acute Vagal Nerve Stimulation

Description

Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be a promising therapeutic technique in treating many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache. The mechanisms by which VNS acts, however, are not fully understood but may

Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be a promising therapeutic technique in treating many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache. The mechanisms by which VNS acts, however, are not fully understood but may involve changes in cerebral blood flow. The vagus nerve plays a significant role in the regulation of heart rate and cerebral blood flow that are altered during VNS. Here, we examined the effects of acute vagal nerve stimulation on both heart rate and cerebral blood flow. Laser Speckle Contrast Analysis (LASCA) was used to analyze the cerebral blood flow of male Long\u2014Evans rats. Results showed two distinct patterns of responses whereby animals either experienced a mild or severe decrease in heart rate during VNS. Further, animals that displayed mild heart rate decreases showed an increase in cerebral blood flow that persisted beyond VNS. Animals that displayed severe decreases showed a transient decrease in cerebral blood flow followed by an increase that was greater than that observed in mild animals but progressively decreased after VNS. The results suggest two distinct patterns of changes in both heart rate and cerebral blood flow that may be related to the intensity of VNS.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Viability of Cryotherapy Device for Spastic Relief Compared to Current Electrotherapy Device

Description

Spasticity is a neurological disorder in which a target group of muscles remain in a contracted state. In addition to interfering with the function of these muscles, spasticity causes chronic pain and discomfort. Often found in patients with cerebral palsy,

Spasticity is a neurological disorder in which a target group of muscles remain in a contracted state. In addition to interfering with the function of these muscles, spasticity causes chronic pain and discomfort. Often found in patients with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or stroke history, spasticity affects an estimated twelve million people worldwide. Not only does spasticity cause discomfort and loss of function, but the condition can lead to contractures, or permanent shortenings of the muscle and connective tissue, if left untreated. Current treatments for spasticity are primarily different forms of muscle relaxant pharmaceuticals. Almost all of these drugs, however, carry unwanted side effects, including total muscle weakness, liver toxicity, and possible dependence. Additionally, kinesiotherapy, conducted by physical therapists at rehabilitation clinics, is often prescribed to people suffering from spasticity. Since kinesiotherapy requires frequent practice to be effective, proper treatment requires constant professional care and clinic appointments, discouraging patient compliance. Consequently, a medical device that could automate relief for spasticity outside of a clinic is desired in the market. While a number of different dynamic splints for hand spasticity are currently on the market, research has shown that these devices, which simply brace the hand in an extended position, do not work through any mechanism to decrease spastic tension over time. Two methods of temporarily reducing spasticity that have been observed in clinical studies are cryotherapy, or the decrease of temperature on a target area, and electrotherapy, which is the delivery of regulated electrical pulses to a target area. It is possible that either of these mechanisms could be incorporated into a medical device aimed toward spastic relief. In fact, electrotherapy is used in a current market device called the SaeboStim, which is advertised to help stroke recovery and spastic reduction. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the viability of a potential spastic relief device that utilizes cryotherapy to a current and closest competitor, the SaeboStim. The effectiveness of each device in relieving spasticity is reviewed. The two devices are also compared on their ability to address primary customer needs, such as convenience, ease of use, durability, and price. Overall, it is concluded that the cryotherapy device more effectively relieves hand spasticity in users, although the SaeboStim's smaller size and better convenience gives it market appeal, and reveals some of the shortcomings in the preliminary design of the cryotherapy device.

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Date Created
2018-05

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A Mechanical Analysis of Trained Violinist Kinematics

Description

Central to current conceptions concerning the function of the nervous system is the consideration of how it manages to maintain precise control for repetitive tasks such as reaching, given the extensive observable mechanical degrees of freedom. Especially in the upper

Central to current conceptions concerning the function of the nervous system is the consideration of how it manages to maintain precise control for repetitive tasks such as reaching, given the extensive observable mechanical degrees of freedom. Especially in the upper extremities, there are an infinite number of orientations (degrees of freedom) that can produce the same ultimate outcome. Consider, for example, a man in a seated position pointing to an object on a table with his index finger: even if we vastly simplify the mechanics involved in that action by considering three principle joints - the shoulder, elbow, and wrist - there are an infinite number of upper arm orientations that would result in the same position of the man's index finger in three-dimensional space. It has been hypothesized that the central nervous system is capable of simplifying reaching tasks by organizing the DOFs; this suggests that repetitive, simple tasks such as reaching can be planned, that the variability in repetitive tasks is minimized, and that the central nervous system is capable of increasing stability by instantaneously resisting perturbations. Previous literature indicates that variability is decreased and stability increased in trained upper extremity movement. In this study, mechanical discrepancies between violinists of varying levels of experience were identified. It was hypothesized that variability in the positional error (deviation from an expected line of motion) and velocity of the bow, as well as the produced variability in resultant elbow angles, would decrease with increasing proficiency, and that training would have no observable effect on average peak bow velocity. Data acquisition was accomplished by constructing LED triads and implementing a PhaseSpace 3D Motion Capture system. While the positional variance and peak velocity magnitude of the bow appeared unaffected by training (p >> 0.05), more advanced players demonstrated significantly higher variability in bow velocity (p << 0.001). As such, it can be concluded that repetitive training does manifest in changes in variability; however, further investigation is required to reveal the nature of these changes.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Analysis of Applied Thumb and Index Force in Trained and Untrained Violinists

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The purpose of this experiment is to study whether there is a difference in applied finger force between violinists of different skill proficiencies. It has been hypothesized that more experienced violinists will apply less force during play in their thumb

The purpose of this experiment is to study whether there is a difference in applied finger force between violinists of different skill proficiencies. It has been hypothesized that more experienced violinists will apply less force during play in their thumb and index fingers. It was found that there was significant difference in the peak forces applied by the index finger, thumb, and grip (p < 0.05) in all groups except beginner and intermediate violinists in peak thumb force. Significant differences were also found in the continuous force applied by the index finger and grip as well as the standard deviation of the continuous force applied by the thumb (p < 0.05). Additionally, there were no significant differences in the correlation between continuous applied index finger and thumb forces or latency in index and thumb force between different levels or proficiencies (p > 0.05). Due to these results, the hypothesis could not be fully accepted signifying that further testing must be performed.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Neural Correlates of Learning and Trajectory Planning in the Posterior Parietal Cortex

Description

The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is thought to play an important role in the planning of visually-guided reaching movements. However, the relative roles of the various subdivisions of the PPC in this function are still poorly understood. For example, studies

The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is thought to play an important role in the planning of visually-guided reaching movements. However, the relative roles of the various subdivisions of the PPC in this function are still poorly understood. For example, studies of dorsal area 5 point to a representation of reaches in both extrinsic (endpoint) and intrinsic (joint or muscle) coordinates, as evidenced by partial changes in preferred directions and positional discharge with changes in arm posture. In contrast, recent findings suggest that the adjacent medial intraparietal area (MIP) is involved in more abstract representations, e.g., encoding reach target in visual coordinates. Such a representation is suitable for planning reach trajectories involving shortest distance paths to targets straight ahead. However, it is currently unclear how MIP contributes to the planning of other types of trajectories, including those with various degrees of curvature. Such curved trajectories recruit different joint excursions and might help us address whether their representation in the PPC is purely in extrinsic coordinates or in intrinsic ones as well. Here we investigated the role of the PPC in these processes during an obstacle avoidance task for which the animals had not been explicitly trained. We found that PPC planning activity was predictive of both the spatial and temporal aspects of upcoming trajectories. The same PPC neurons predicted the upcoming trajectory in both endpoint and joint coordinates. The predictive power of these neurons remained stable and accurate despite concomitant motor learning across task conditions. These findings suggest the role of the PPC can be extended from specifying abstract movement goals to expressing these plans as corresponding trajectories in both endpoint and joint coordinates. Thus, the PPC appears to contribute to reach planning and approach-avoidance arm motions at multiple levels of representation.

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Date Created
2013-05-17

A Robot Hand Testbed Designed for Enhancing Embodiment and Functional Neurorehabilitation of Body Schema in Subjects With Upper Limb Impairment or Loss

Description

Many upper limb amputees experience an incessant, post-amputation “phantom limb pain” and report that their missing limbs feel paralyzed in an uncomfortable posture. One hypothesis is that efferent commands no longer generate expected afferent signals, such as proprioceptive feedback from

Many upper limb amputees experience an incessant, post-amputation “phantom limb pain” and report that their missing limbs feel paralyzed in an uncomfortable posture. One hypothesis is that efferent commands no longer generate expected afferent signals, such as proprioceptive feedback from changes in limb configuration, and that the mismatch of motor commands and visual feedback is interpreted as pain. Non-invasive therapeutic techniques for treating phantom limb pain, such as mirror visual feedback (MVF), rely on visualizations of postural changes. Advances in neural interfaces for artificial sensory feedback now make it possible to combine MVF with a high-tech “rubber hand” illusion, in which subjects develop a sense of embodiment with a fake hand when subjected to congruent visual and somatosensory feedback. We discuss clinical benefits that could arise from the confluence of known concepts such as MVF and the rubber hand illusion, and new technologies such as neural interfaces for sensory feedback and highly sensorized robot hand testbeds, such as the “BairClaw” presented here. Our multi-articulating, anthropomorphic robot testbed can be used to study proprioceptive and tactile sensory stimuli during physical finger–object interactions. Conceived for artificial grasp, manipulation, and haptic exploration, the BairClaw could also be used for future studies on the neurorehabilitation of somatosensory disorders due to upper limb impairment or loss. A remote actuation system enables the modular control of tendon-driven hands. The artificial proprioception system enables direct measurement of joint angles and tendon tensions while temperature, vibration, and skin deformation are provided by a multimodal tactile sensor. The provision of multimodal sensory feedback that is spatiotemporally consistent with commanded actions could lead to benefits such as reduced phantom limb pain, and increased prosthesis use due to improved functionality and reduced cognitive burden.

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Date Created
2015-02-19

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Multisensory Interactions Influence Neuronal Spike Train Dynamics in the Posterior Parietal Cortex

Description

Although significant progress has been made in understanding multisensory interactions at the behavioral level, their underlying neural mechanisms remain relatively poorly understood in cortical areas, particularly during the control of action. In recent experiments where animals reached to and actively

Although significant progress has been made in understanding multisensory interactions at the behavioral level, their underlying neural mechanisms remain relatively poorly understood in cortical areas, particularly during the control of action. In recent experiments where animals reached to and actively maintained their arm position at multiple spatial locations while receiving either proprioceptive or visual-proprioceptive position feedback, multisensory interactions were shown to be associated with reduced spiking (i.e. subadditivity) as well as reduced intra-trial and across-trial spiking variability in the superior parietal lobule (SPL). To further explore the nature of such interaction-induced changes in spiking variability we quantified the spike train dynamics of 231 of these neurons. Neurons were classified as Poisson, bursty, refractory, or oscillatory (in the 13–30 Hz “beta-band”) based on their spike train power spectra and autocorrelograms. No neurons were classified as Poisson-like in either the proprioceptive or visual-proprioceptive conditions. Instead, oscillatory spiking was most commonly observed with many neurons exhibiting these oscillations under only one set of feedback conditions. The results suggest that the SPL may belong to a putative beta-synchronized network for arm position maintenance and that position estimation may be subserved by different subsets of neurons within this network depending on available sensory information. In addition, the nature of the observed spiking variability suggests that models of multisensory interactions in the SPL should account for both Poisson-like and non-Poisson variability.

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Date Created
2016-12-29

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Uniform and Non-Uniform Perturbations in Brain-Machine Interface Task Elicit Similar Neural Strategies

Description

The neural mechanisms that take place during learning and adaptation can be directly probed with brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). We developed a BMI controlled paradigm that enabled us to enforce learning by introducing perturbations which changed the relationship between neural activity

The neural mechanisms that take place during learning and adaptation can be directly probed with brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). We developed a BMI controlled paradigm that enabled us to enforce learning by introducing perturbations which changed the relationship between neural activity and the BMI's output. We introduced a uniform perturbation to the system, through a visuomotor rotation (VMR), and a non-uniform perturbation, through a decorrelation task. The controller in the VMR was essentially unchanged, but produced an output rotated at 30° from the neurally specified output. The controller in the decorrelation trials decoupled the activity of neurons that were highly correlated in the BMI task by selectively forcing the preferred directions of these cell pairs to be orthogonal. We report that movement errors were larger in the decorrelation task, and subjects needed more trials to restore performance back to baseline. During learning, we measured decreasing trends in preferred direction changes and cross-correlation coefficients regardless of task type. Conversely, final adaptations in neural tunings were dependent on the type controller used (VMR or decorrelation). These results hint to the similar process the neural population might engage while adapting to new tasks, and how, through a global process, the neural system can arrive to individual solutions.

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Date Created
2016-08-23