Electrical and Electronic Engineering - Research Publications

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    Electrical probing of cortical excitability in patients with epilepsy
    Freestone, DR ; Kuhlmann, L ; Grayden, DB ; Burkitt, AN ; Lai, A ; Nelson, TS ; Vogrin, S ; Murphy, M ; D'Souza, W ; Badawy, R ; Nesic, D ; Cook, MJ (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2011-12-01)
    Standard methods for seizure prediction involve passive monitoring of intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) in order to track the 'state' of the brain. This paper introduces a new method for measuring cortical excitability using an electrical probing stimulus. Electrical probing enables feature extraction in a more robust and controlled manner compared to passively tracking features of iEEG signals. The probing stimuli consist of 100 bi-phasic pulses, delivered every 10 min. Features representing neural excitability are estimated from the iEEG responses to the stimuli. These features include the amplitude of the electrically evoked potential, the mean phase variance (univariate), and the phase-locking value (bivariate). In one patient, it is shown how the features vary over time in relation to the sleep-wake cycle and an epileptic seizure. For a second patient, it is demonstrated how the features vary with the rate of interictal discharges. In addition, the spatial pattern of increases and decreases in phase synchrony is explored when comparing periods of low and high interictal discharge rates, or sleep and awake states. The results demonstrate a proof-of-principle for the method to be applied in a seizure anticipation framework. This article is part of a Supplemental Special Issue entitled The Future of Automated Seizure Detection and Prediction.
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    A comparison of open-loop and closed-loop stimulation strategies to control excitation of retinal ganglion cells
    Kameneva, T ; Zarelli, D ; Nesic, D ; Grayden, DB ; Burkitt, AN ; Meffin, H (Elsevier, 2014-11-01)
    Currently, open-loop stimulation strategies are prevalent in medical bionic devices. These strategies involve setting electrical stimulation that does not change in response to neural activity. We investigate through simulation the advantages of using a closed-loop strategy that sets stimulation level based on continuous measurement of the level of neural activity. We propose a model-based controller design to control activation of retinal neurons. To deal with the lack of controllability and observability of the whole system, we use Kalman decomposition and control only the controllable and observable part. We show that the closed-loop controller performs better than the open-loop controller when perturbations are introduced into the system. We envisage that our work will give rise to more investigations of the closed-loop techniques in basic neuroscience research and in clinical applications of medical bionics.
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    Spectral Analysis of Input Spike Trains by Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity
    Gilson, M ; Fukai, T ; Burkitt, AN ; Sporns, O (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-07-01)
    Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) has been observed in many brain areas such as sensory cortices, where it is hypothesized to structure synaptic connections between neurons. Previous studies have demonstrated how STDP can capture spiking information at short timescales using specific input configurations, such as coincident spiking, spike patterns and oscillatory spike trains. However, the corresponding computation in the case of arbitrary input signals is still unclear. This paper provides an overarching picture of the algorithm inherent to STDP, tying together many previous results for commonly used models of pairwise STDP. For a single neuron with plastic excitatory synapses, we show how STDP performs a spectral analysis on the temporal cross-correlograms between its afferent spike trains. The postsynaptic responses and STDP learning window determine kernel functions that specify how the neuron "sees" the input correlations. We thus denote this unsupervised learning scheme as 'kernel spectral component analysis' (kSCA). In particular, the whole input correlation structure must be considered since all plastic synapses compete with each other. We find that kSCA is enhanced when weight-dependent STDP induces gradual synaptic competition. For a spiking neuron with a "linear" response and pairwise STDP alone, we find that kSCA resembles principal component analysis (PCA). However, plain STDP does not isolate correlation sources in general, e.g., when they are mixed among the input spike trains. In other words, it does not perform independent component analysis (ICA). Tuning the neuron to a single correlation source can be achieved when STDP is paired with a homeostatic mechanism that reinforces the competition between synaptic inputs. Our results suggest that neuronal networks equipped with STDP can process signals encoded in the transient spiking activity at the timescales of tens of milliseconds for usual STDP.
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    The Effect of Visual Cues on Auditory Stream Segregation in Musicians and Non-Musicians
    Marozeau, J ; Innes-Brown, H ; Grayden, DB ; Burkitt, AN ; Blamey, PJ ; Louis, M (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2010-06-23)
    BACKGROUND: The ability to separate two interleaved melodies is an important factor in music appreciation. This ability is greatly reduced in people with hearing impairment, contributing to difficulties in music appreciation. The aim of this study was to assess whether visual cues, musical training or musical context could have an effect on this ability, and potentially improve music appreciation for the hearing impaired. METHODS: Musicians (N = 18) and non-musicians (N = 19) were asked to rate the difficulty of segregating a four-note repeating melody from interleaved random distracter notes. Visual cues were provided on half the blocks, and two musical contexts were tested, with the overlap between melody and distracter notes either gradually increasing or decreasing. CONCLUSIONS: Visual cues, musical training, and musical context all affected the difficulty of extracting the melody from a background of interleaved random distracter notes. Visual cues were effective in reducing the difficulty of segregating the melody from distracter notes, even in individuals with no musical training. These results are consistent with theories that indicate an important role for central (top-down) processes in auditory streaming mechanisms, and suggest that visual cues may help the hearing-impaired enjoy music.
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    Delay Selection by Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity in Recurrent Networks of Spiking Neurons Receiving Oscillatory Inputs
    Kerr, RR ; Burkitt, AN ; Thomas, DA ; Gilson, M ; Grayden, DB ; Morrison, A (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-02-01)
    Learning rules, such as spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP), change the structure of networks of neurons based on the firing activity. A network level understanding of these mechanisms can help infer how the brain learns patterns and processes information. Previous studies have shown that STDP selectively potentiates feed-forward connections that have specific axonal delays, and that this underlies behavioral functions such as sound localization in the auditory brainstem of the barn owl. In this study, we investigate how STDP leads to the selective potentiation of recurrent connections with different axonal and dendritic delays during oscillatory activity. We develop analytical models of learning with additive STDP in recurrent networks driven by oscillatory inputs, and support the results using simulations with leaky integrate-and-fire neurons. Our results show selective potentiation of connections with specific axonal delays, which depended on the input frequency. In addition, we demonstrate how this can lead to a network becoming selective in the amplitude of its oscillatory response to this frequency. We extend this model of axonal delay selection within a single recurrent network in two ways. First, we show the selective potentiation of connections with a range of both axonal and dendritic delays. Second, we show axonal delay selection between multiple groups receiving out-of-phase, oscillatory inputs. We discuss the application of these models to the formation and activation of neuronal ensembles or cell assemblies in the cortex, and also to missing fundamental pitch perception in the auditory brainstem.
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    Learning Pitch with STDP: A Computational Model of Place and Temporal Pitch Perception Using Spiking Neural Networks
    Saeedi, NE ; Blamey, PJ ; Burkitt, AN ; Grayden, DB ; Battaglia, FP (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2016-04-01)
    Pitch perception is important for understanding speech prosody, music perception, recognizing tones in tonal languages, and perceiving speech in noisy environments. The two principal pitch perception theories consider the place of maximum neural excitation along the auditory nerve and the temporal pattern of the auditory neurons' action potentials (spikes) as pitch cues. This paper describes a biophysical mechanism by which fine-structure temporal information can be extracted from the spikes generated at the auditory periphery. Deriving meaningful pitch-related information from spike times requires neural structures specialized in capturing synchronous or correlated activity from amongst neural events. The emergence of such pitch-processing neural mechanisms is described through a computational model of auditory processing. Simulation results show that a correlation-based, unsupervised, spike-based form of Hebbian learning can explain the development of neural structures required for recognizing the pitch of simple and complex tones, with or without the fundamental frequency. The temporal code is robust to variations in the spectral shape of the signal and thus can explain the phenomenon of pitch constancy.
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    Spike history neural response model
    Kameneva, T ; Abramian, M ; Zarelli, D ; Nesic, D ; Burkitt, AN ; Meffin, H ; Grayden, DB (SPRINGER, 2015-06-01)
    There is a potential for improved efficacy of neural stimulation if stimulation levels can be modified dynamically based on the responses of neural tissue in real time. A neural model is developed that describes the response of neurons to electrical stimulation and that is suitable for feedback control neuroprosthetic stimulation. Experimental data from NZ white rabbit retinae is used with a data-driven technique to model neural dynamics. The linear-nonlinear approach is adapted to incorporate spike history and to predict the neural response of ganglion cells to electrical stimulation. To validate the fitness of the model, the penalty term is calculated based on the time difference between each simulated spike and the closest spike in time in the experimentally recorded train. The proposed model is able to robustly predict experimentally observed spike trains.
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    Retinal ganglion cells electrophysiology: the effect of cell morphology on impulse waveform
    Maturana, MI ; Wong, R ; Cloherty, SL ; Ibbotson, MR ; Hadjinicolaou, AE ; Grayden, DB ; Burkitt, AN ; Meffin, H ; O'Brien, BJ ; Kameneva, T (IEEE, 2013-01-01)
    There are 16 morphologically defined classes of rats retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Using computer simulation of a realistic anatomically correct A1 mouse RGC, we investigate the effect of the cell's morphology on its impulse waveform, using the first-, and second-order time derivatives as well as the phase plot features. Using whole cell patch clamp recordings, we recorded the impulse waveform for each of the rat RGCs types. While we found some clear differences in many features of the impulse waveforms for A2 and B2 cells compared to other cell classes, many cell types did not show clear differences.
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    Application of a pitch perception model to investigate the effect of stimulation field spread on the pitch ranking abilities of cochlear implant recipients
    Saeedi, NE ; Blamey, PJ ; Burkitt, AN ; Grayden, DB (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2014-10-01)
    Although many cochlear implant (CI) recipients perceive speech very well in favorable conditions, they still have difficulty with music, speech in noisy environments, and tonal languages. Studies show that CI users' performance in these tasks are correlated with their ability to perceive pitch. The spread of stimulation field from the electrodes to the auditory nerve is one of the factors affecting performance. This study proposes a model of auditory perception to predict the performance of CI users in pitch ranking tasks using an existing sound processing scheme. The model is then used as a platform to investigate the effect of stimulation field spread on performance.
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    STDP in recurrent neuronal networks
    Gilson, M ; Burkitt, A ; van Hemmen, JL (FRONTIERS RES FOUND, 2010-09-01)
    Recent results about spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) in recurrently connected neurons are reviewed, with a focus on the relationship between the weight dynamics and the emergence of network structure. In particular, the evolution of synaptic weights in the two cases of incoming connections for a single neuron and recurrent connections are compared and contrasted. A theoretical framework is used that is based upon Poisson neurons with a temporally inhomogeneous firing rate and the asymptotic distribution of weights generated by the learning dynamics. Different network configurations examined in recent studies are discussed and an overview of the current understanding of STDP in recurrently connected neuronal networks is presented.