Matching Items (21)

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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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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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2018-05

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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 physically fit aging adults as compared to their sedentary counterparts.

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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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 to the handle induced a period of increased error in

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 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 same object with three fingers. However, the role that tactile

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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2014

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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 an object in one context interferes with the performance of

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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Ultrasound modulation of the central and peripheral nervous system

Description

Noninvasive neuromodulation could help treat many neurological disorders, but existing techniques have low resolution and weak penetration. Ultrasound (US) shows promise for stimulation of smaller areas and subcortical structures. However, the mechanism and parameter design are not understood. US can

Noninvasive neuromodulation could help treat many neurological disorders, but existing techniques have low resolution and weak penetration. Ultrasound (US) shows promise for stimulation of smaller areas and subcortical structures. However, the mechanism and parameter design are not understood. US can stimulate tail and hindlimb movements in rats, but not forelimb, for unknown reasons. Potentially, US could also stimulate peripheral or enteric neurons for control of blood glucose.

To better understand the inconsistent effects across rat motor cortex, US modulation of electrically-evoked movements was tested. A stimulation array was implanted on the cortical surface and US (200 kHz, 30-60 W/cm2 peak) was applied while measuring changes in the evoked forelimb and hindlimb movements. Direct US stimulation of the hindlimb was also studied. To test peripheral effects, rat blood glucose levels were measured while applying US near the liver.

No short-term motor modulation was visible (95% confidence interval: -3.5% to +5.1% forelimb, -3.8% to +5.5% hindlimb). There was significant long-term (minutes-order) suppression (95% confidence interval: -3.7% to -10.8% forelimb, -3.8% to -11.9% hindlimb). This suppression may be due to the considerable heating (+1.8°C between US
on-US conditions); effects of heat and US were not separable in this experiment. US directly evoked hindlimb and scrotum movements in some sessions. This required a long interval, at least 3 seconds between US bursts. Movement could be evoked with much shorter pulses than used in literature (3 ms). The EMG latency (10 ms) was compatible with activation of corticospinal neurons. The glucose modulation test showed a strong increase in a few trials, but across all trials found no significant effect.

The single motor response and the long refractory period together suggest that only the beginning of the US burst had a stimulatory effect. This would explain the lack of short-term modulation, and suggests future work with shorter pulses could better explore the missing forelimb response. During the refractory period there was no change in the electrically-evoked response, which suggests the US stimulation mechanism is independent of normal brain activity. These results challenge the literature-standard protocols and provide new insights on the unknown mechanism.

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Date Created
2015

Applications of miniaturized ultrasound powered wireless nerve stimulators for pain management

Description

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a debilitating chronic disease of the lower extremities particularly affecting older adults and diabetics. It results in reduction of the blood flow to peripheral tissue and sometimes causing tissue damage such that PVD patients suffer

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a debilitating chronic disease of the lower extremities particularly affecting older adults and diabetics. It results in reduction of the blood flow to peripheral tissue and sometimes causing tissue damage such that PVD patients suffer from pain in the lower legs, thigh and buttocks after activities. Electrical neurostimulation based on the "Gate Theory of Pain" is a known to way to reduce pain but current devices to do this are bulky and not well suited to implantation in peripheral tissues. There is also an increased risk associated with surgery which limits the use of these devices. This research has designed and constructed wireless ultrasound powered microstimulators that are much smaller and injectable and so involve less implantation trauma. These devices are small enough to fit through an 18 gauge syringe needle increasing their potential for clinical use. These piezoelectric microdevices convert mechanical energy into electrical energy that then is used to block pain. The design and performance of these miniaturized devices was modeled by computer while constructed devices were evaluated in animal experiments. The devices are capable of producing 500ms pulses with an intensity of 2 mA into a 2 kilo-ohms load. Using the rat as an animal model, a series of experiments were conducted to evaluate the in-vivo performance of the devices.

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Date Created
2014

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Sensory-motor integration for control of digit position in grasping and manipulation

Description

Dexterous manipulation is a representative task that involves sensorimotor integration underlying a fine control of movements. Over the past 30 years, research has provided significant insight, including the control mechanisms of force coordination during manipulation tasks. Successful dexterous manipulation is

Dexterous manipulation is a representative task that involves sensorimotor integration underlying a fine control of movements. Over the past 30 years, research has provided significant insight, including the control mechanisms of force coordination during manipulation tasks. Successful dexterous manipulation is thought to rely on the ability to integrate the sense of digit position with motor commands responsible for generating digit forces and placement. However, the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of digit position-force coordination are not well understood. This dissertation addresses this question through three experiments that are based on psychophysics and object lifting tasks. It was found in psychophysics tasks that sensed relative digit position was accurately reproduced when sensorimotor transformations occurred with larger vertical fingertip separations, within the same hand, and at the same hand posture. The results from a follow-up experiment conducted in the same digit position-matching task while generating forces in different directions reveal a biased relative digit position toward the direction of force production. Specifically, subjects reproduced the thumb CoP higher than the index finger CoP when vertical digit forces were directed upward and downward, respectively, and vice versa. It was also found in lifting tasks that the ability to discriminate the relative digit position prior to lifting an object and modulate digit forces to minimize object roll as a function of digit position are robust regardless of whether motor commands for positioning the digits on the object are involved. These results indicate that the erroneous sensorimotor transformations of relative digit position reported here must be compensated during dexterous manipulation by other mechanisms, e.g., visual feedback of fingertip position. Furthermore, predicted sensory consequences derived from the efference copy of voluntary motor commands to generate vertical digit forces may override haptic sensory feedback for the estimation of relative digit position. Lastly, the sensorimotor transformations from haptic feedback to digit force modulation to position appear to be facilitated by motor commands for active digit placement in manipulation.

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Date Created
2014

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The internal representation of arm position revealed through the spatial pattern of hand location estimation errors

Description

Our ability to estimate the position of our body parts in space, a fundamentally proprioceptive process, is crucial for interacting with the environment and movement control. For proprioception to support these actions, the Central Nervous System has to rely on

Our ability to estimate the position of our body parts in space, a fundamentally proprioceptive process, is crucial for interacting with the environment and movement control. For proprioception to support these actions, the Central Nervous System has to rely on a stored internal representation of the body parts in space. However, relatively little is known about this internal representation of arm position. To this end, I developed a method to map proprioceptive estimates of hand location across a 2-d workspace. In this task, I moved each subject's hand to a target location while the subject's eyes were closed. After returning the hand, subjects opened their eyes to verbally report the location of where their fingertip had been. Then, I reconstructed and analyzed the spatial structure of the pattern of estimation errors. In the first couple of experiments I probed the structure and stability of the pattern of errors by manipulating the hand used and tactile feedback provided when the hand was at each target location. I found that the resulting pattern of errors was systematically stable across conditions for each subject, subject-specific, and not uniform across the workspace. These findings suggest that the observed structure of pattern of errors has been constructed through experience, which has resulted in a systematically stable internal representation of arm location. Moreover, this representation is continuously being calibrated across the workspace. In the next two experiments, I aimed to probe the calibration of this structure. To this end, I used two different perturbation paradigms: 1) a virtual reality visuomotor adaptation to induce a local perturbation, 2) and a standard prism adaptation paradigm to induce a global perturbation. I found that the magnitude of the errors significantly increased to a similar extent after each perturbation. This small effect indicates that proprioception is recalibrated to a similar extent regardless of how the perturbation is introduced, suggesting that sensory and motor changes may be two independent processes arising from the perturbation. Moreover, I propose that the internal representation of arm location might be constructed with a global solution and not capable of local changes.

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Date Created
2012