Matching Items (20)

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Effects of aerobic fitness on aging-related changes of interhemispheric inhibition and motor performance

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Physical fitness has been long associated with maintenance and improvement of motor performance as we age. In particular, measures of psychomotor speed and motor dexterity tend to be higher in

Physical fitness has been long associated with maintenance and improvement of motor performance as we age. In particular, measures of psychomotor speed and motor dexterity tend to be higher in physically fit aging adults as compared to their sedentary counterparts. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we explored the patterns of neural activity that may, in part, account for differences between individuals of varying physical fitness levels. In this study, we enrolled both sedentary and physically fit middle age (40–60) and younger (18–30) adults and measured upper extremity motor performance during behavioral testing. In a follow-up session, we employed TMS and fMRI to assess levels of interhemispheric communication during unimanual tasks. Results show that increased physical fitness is associated with better upper extremity motor performance on distal dexterity assessments and increased levels of interhemispheric inhibition in middle age adults. Further, the functional correlates of changes of ipsilateral activity appears to be restricted to the aging process as younger adults of varying fitness levels do not differ in hemispheric patterns of activity or motor performance. We conclude that sedentary aging confers a loss of interhemispheric inhibition that is deleterious to some aspects of motor function, as early as midlife, but these changes can be mediated by chronic engagement in aerobic exercise.

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  • 2013-10-30

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

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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

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

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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

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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Learning Dynamic Manipulation with Redundant Degrees of Freedom: Sub-Optimal Motor Solution induced by switching tasks

Description

The effect of conflicting sensorimotor memories on optimal force strategies was explored. Subjects operated a virtual object controlled by a physical handle to complete a simple straight-line task. Perturbations applied

The effect of conflicting sensorimotor memories on optimal force strategies was explored. Subjects operated a virtual object controlled by a physical handle to complete a simple straight-line task. Perturbations applied to the handle induced a period of increased error in subject accuracy. After two blocks of 33 trials, perturbations switched direction, inducing increased error from the previous trials. Subjects returned after a 24-hour period to complete a similar protocol, but beginning with the second context and ending with the first. Interference from the first context on each day caused an increase in initial error for the second (P < 0.05). Following the rest period, subjects showed retention of the sensorimotor memory from the previous day through significantly decreased initial error (P = 3x10-6). However, subjects showed an increase in forces for each new context resulting from a sub-optimal motor strategy. Higher levels of total effort (P < 0.05) and a lack of separation between force values for opposing and non-opposing digits (P > 0.05) indicated a strategy that used more energy to complete the task, even when rates of learning appeared identical or improved. Two possible mechanisms for this lack of energy conservation have been proposed.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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The Role of Primary Motor Cortex (M1) in the Context-Dependent Interference

Description

A previous study demonstrated that learning to lift an object is context-based and that in the presence of both the memory and visual cues, the acquired sensorimotor memory to manipulate

A previous study demonstrated that learning to lift an object is context-based and that in the presence of both the memory and visual cues, the acquired sensorimotor memory to manipulate an object in one context interferes with the performance of the same task in presence of visual information about a different context (Fu et al, 2012).
The purpose of this study is to know whether the primary motor cortex (M1) plays a role in the sensorimotor memory. It was hypothesized that temporary disruption of the M1 following the learning to minimize a tilt using a ‘L’ shaped object would negatively affect the retention of sensorimotor memory and thus reduce interference between the memory acquired in one context and the visual cues to perform the same task in a different context.
Significant findings were shown in blocks 1, 2, and 4. In block 3, subjects displayed insignificant amount of learning. However, it cannot be concluded that there is full interference in block 3. Therefore, looked into 3 effects in statistical analysis: the main effects of the blocks, the main effects of the trials, and the effects of the blocks and trials combined. From the block effects, there is a p-value of 0.001, and from the trial effects, the p-value is less than 0.001. Both of these effects indicate that there is learning occurring. However, when looking at the blocks * trials effects, we see a p-value of 0.002 < 0.05 indicating significant interaction between sensorimotor memories. Based on the results that were found, there is a presence of interference in all the blocks but not enough to justify the use of TMS in order to reduce interference because there is a partial reduction of interference from the control experiment. It is evident that the time delay might be the issue between context switches. By reducing the time delay between block 2 and 3 from 10 minutes to 5 minutes, I will hope to see significant learning to occur from the first trial to the second trial.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Transcranial Focused Ultrasound for Modulation of Attention Networks in Humans

Description

Transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS) is a unique neurostimulation modality with potential to develop into a highly sophisticated and effective tool. Unlike any other noninvasive neurostimulation technique, tFUS has a high

Transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS) is a unique neurostimulation modality with potential to develop into a highly sophisticated and effective tool. Unlike any other noninvasive neurostimulation technique, tFUS has a high spatial resolution (on the order of millimeters) and can penetrate across the skull, deep into the brain. Sub-thermal tFUS has been shown to induce changes in EEG and fMRI, as well as perception and mood. This study investigates the possibility of using tFUS to modulate brain networks involved in attention and cognitive control.Three different brain areas linked to saliency, cognitive control, and emotion within the cingulo-opercular network were stimulated with tFUS while subjects performed behavioral paradigms. The first study targeted the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), which is associated with performance on cognitive attention tasks, conflict, error, and, emotion. Subjects performed a variant of the Erikson Flanker task in which emotional faces (fear, neutral or scrambled) were displayed in the background as distractors. tFUS significantly reduced the reaction time (RT) delay induced by faces; there were significant differences between tFUS and Sham groups in event related potentials (ERP), event related spectral perturbation (ERSP), conflict and error processing, and heart rate variability (HRV).
The second study used the same behavioral paradigm, but targeted tFUS to the right anterior insula/frontal operculum (aIns/fO). The aIns/fO is implicated in saliency, cognitive control, interoceptive awareness, autonomic function, and emotion. tFUS was found to significantly alter ERP, ERSP, conflict and error processing, and HRV responses.
The third study targeted tFUS to the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), employing the Stop Signal task to study inhibition. tFUS affected ERPs and improved stopping speed. Using network modeling, causal evidence is presented for rIFG influence on subcortical nodes in stopping.
This work provides preliminarily evidence that tFUS can be used to modulate broader network function through a single node, affecting neurophysiological processing, physiologic responses, and behavioral performance. Additionally it can be used as a tool to elucidate network function. These studies suggest tFUS has the potential to affect cognitive function as a clinical tool, and perhaps even enhance wellbeing and expand conscious awareness.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Repetitive mild traumatic brain injury induces ventriculomegaly and cortical thinning in juvenile rats

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) most frequently occurs in pediatric patients and remains a leading cause of childhood death and disability. Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 70-90% of all TBI cases,

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) most frequently occurs in pediatric patients and remains a leading cause of childhood death and disability. Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 70-90% of all TBI cases, yet its neuropathophysiology is still poorly understood. While a single mTBI injury can lead to persistent deficits, repeat injuries increase the severity and duration of both acute symptoms and long term deficits. In this study, to model pediatric repetitive mTBI (rmTBI) we subjected unrestrained juvenile animals (post-natal day 20) to repeat weight drop impact. Animals were anesthetized and subjected to sham or rmTBI once per day for 5 days. At 14 days post injury (PID), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed that rmTBI animals displayed marked cortical atrophy and ventriculomegaly. Specifically, the thickness of the cortex was reduced up to 46% beneath and the ventricles increased up to 970% beneath the impact zone. Immunostaining with the neuron specific marker NeuN revealed an overall loss of neurons within the motor cortex but no change in neuronal density. Examination of intrinsic and synaptic properties of layer II/III pyramidal neurons revealed no significant difference between sham and rmTBI animals at rest or under convulsant challenge with the potassium channel blocker, 4-Aminophyridine. Overall, our findings indicate that the neuropathological changes reported after pediatric rmTBI can be effectively modeled by repeat weight drop in juvenile animals. Developing a better understanding of how rmTBI alters the pediatric brain may help improve patient care and direct "return to game" decision making in adolescents.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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The role of tactile information in transfer of learned manipulation following changes in degrees of freedom

Description

Humans are capable of transferring learning for anticipatory control of dexterous object manipulation despite changes in degrees-of-freedom (DoF), i.e., switching from lifting an object with two fingers to lifting the

Humans are capable of transferring learning for anticipatory control of dexterous object manipulation despite changes in degrees-of-freedom (DoF), i.e., switching from lifting an object with two fingers to lifting the same object with three fingers. However, the role that tactile information plays in this transfer of learning is unknown. In this study, subjects lifted an L-shaped object with two fingers (2-DoF), and then lifted the object with three fingers (3-DoF). The subjects were divided into two groups--one group performed the task wearing a glove (to reduce tactile sensibility) upon the switch to 3-DoF (glove group), while the other group did not wear the glove (control group). Compensatory moment (torque) was used as a measure to determine how well the subject could minimize the tilt of the object following the switch from 2-DoF to 3-DoF. Upon the switch to 3-DoF, subjects wearing the glove generated a compensatory moment (Mcom) that had a significantly higher error than the average of the last five trials at the end of the 3-DoF block (p = 0.012), while the control subjects did not demonstrate a significant difference in Mcom. Additional effects of the reduction in tactile sensibility were: (1) the grip force for the group of subjects wearing the glove was significantly higher in the 3-DoF trials compared to the 2-DoF trials (p = 0.014), while the grip force of the control subjects was not significantly different; (2) the difference in centers of pressure between the thumb and fingers (ΔCoP) significantly increased in the 3-DoF block for the group of subjects wearing the glove, while the ΔCoP of the control subjects was not significantly different; (3) lastly, the control subjects demonstrated a greater increase in lift force than the group of subjects wearing the glove (though results were not significant). Combined together, these results suggest different force modulation strategies are used depending on the amount of tactile feedback that is available to the subject. Therefore, reduction of tactile sensibility has important effects on subjects' ability to transfer learned manipulation across different DoF contexts.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Upper limb proprioceptive sensitivity in three-dimensional space: effects of direction, posture, and exogenous neuromodulation

Description

Proprioception is the sense of body position, movement, force, and effort. Loss of proprioception can affect planning and control of limb and body movements, negatively impacting activities of daily living

Proprioception is the sense of body position, movement, force, and effort. Loss of proprioception can affect planning and control of limb and body movements, negatively impacting activities of daily living and quality of life. Assessments employing planar robots have shown that proprioceptive sensitivity is directionally dependent within the horizontal plane however, few studies have looked at proprioceptive sensitivity in 3d space. In addition, the extent to which proprioceptive sensitivity is modifiable by factors such as exogenous neuromodulation is unclear. To investigate proprioceptive sensitivity in 3d we developed a novel experimental paradigm employing a 7-DoF robot arm, which enables reliable testing of arm proprioception along arbitrary paths in 3d space, including vertical motion which has previously been neglected. A participant’s right arm was coupled to a trough held by the robot that stabilized the wrist and forearm, allowing for changes in configuration only at the elbow and shoulder. Sensitivity to imposed displacements of the endpoint of the arm were evaluated using a “same/different” task, where participant’s hands were moved 1-4 cm from a previously visited reference position. A measure of sensitivity (d’) was compared across 6 movement directions and between 2 postures. For all directions, sensitivity increased monotonically as the distance from the reference location increased. Sensitivity was also shown to be anisotropic (directionally dependent) which has implications for our understanding of the planning and control of reaching movements in 3d space.

The effect of neuromodulation on proprioceptive sensitivity was assessed using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which has been shown to have beneficial effects on human cognitive and sensorimotor performance in other contexts. In this pilot study the effects of two frequencies (30hz and 300hz) and three electrode configurations were examined. No effect of electrode configuration was found, however sensitivity with 30hz stimulation was significantly lower than with 300hz stimulation (which was similar to sensitivity without stimulation). Although TENS was shown to modulate proprioceptive sensitivity, additional experiments are required to determine if TENS can produce enhancement rather than depression of sensitivity which would have positive implications for rehabilitation of proprioceptive deficits arising from stroke and other disorders.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Ultrahigh Field Functional Magnetic Resonance Electrical Impedance Tomography (fMREIT) in Neural Activity Imaging

Description

A direct Magnetic Resonance (MR)-based neural activity mapping technique with high spatial and temporal resolution may accelerate studies of brain functional organization.

The most widely used technique for brain functional

A direct Magnetic Resonance (MR)-based neural activity mapping technique with high spatial and temporal resolution may accelerate studies of brain functional organization.

The most widely used technique for brain functional imaging is functional Magnetic Resonance Image (fMRI). The spatial resolution of fMRI is high. However, fMRI signals are highly influenced by the vasculature in each voxel and can be affected by capillary orientation and vessel size. Functional MRI analysis may, therefore, produce misleading results when voxels are nearby large vessels. Another problem in fMRI is that hemodynamic responses are slower than the neuronal activity. Therefore, temporal resolution is limited in fMRI. Furthermore, the correlation between neural activity and the hemodynamic response is not fully understood. fMRI can only be considered an indirect method of functional brain imaging.

Another MR-based method of functional brain mapping is neuronal current magnetic resonance imaging (ncMRI), which has been studied over several years. However, the amplitude of these neuronal current signals is an order of magnitude smaller than the physiological noise. Works on ncMRI include simulation, phantom experiments, and studies in tissue including isolated ganglia, optic nerves, and human brains. However, ncMRI development has been hampered due to the extremely small signal amplitude, as well as the presence of confounding signals from hemodynamic changes and other physiological noise.

Magnetic Resonance Electrical Impedance Tomography (MREIT) methods could have the potential for the detection of neuronal activity. In this technique, small external currents are applied to a body during MR scans. This current flow produces a magnetic field as well as an electric field. The altered magnetic flux density along the main magnetic field direction caused by this current flow can be obtained from phase images. When there is neural activity, the conductivity of the neural cell membrane changes and the current paths around the neurons change consequently. Neural spiking activity during external current injection, therefore, causes differential phase accumulation in MR data. Statistical analysis methods can be used to identify neuronal-current-induced magnetic field changes.

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Date Created
  • 2019