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)
    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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    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)
    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)
    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)
    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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    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)
    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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    Goal-directed control with cortical units that are gated by both top-down feedback and oscillatory coherence
    Kerr, RR ; Grayden, DB ; Thomas, DA ; Gilson, M ; Burkitt, AN (FRONTIERS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2014-08-08)
    The brain is able to flexibly select behaviors that adapt to both its environment and its present goals. This cognitive control is understood to occur within the hierarchy of the cortex and relies strongly on the prefrontal and premotor cortices, which sit at the top of this hierarchy. Pyramidal neurons, the principal neurons in the cortex, have been observed to exhibit much stronger responses when they receive inputs at their soma/basal dendrites that are coincident with inputs at their apical dendrites. This corresponds to inputs from both lower-order regions (feedforward) and higher-order regions (feedback), respectively. In addition to this, coherence between oscillations, such as gamma oscillations, in different neuronal groups has been proposed to modulate and route communication in the brain. In this paper, we develop a simple, but novel, neural mass model in which cortical units (or ensembles) exhibit gamma oscillations when they receive coherent oscillatory inputs from both feedforward and feedback connections. By forming these units into circuits that can perform logic operations, we identify the different ways in which operations can be initiated and manipulated by top-down feedback. We demonstrate that more sophisticated and flexible top-down control is possible when the gain of units is modulated by not only top-down feedback but by coherence between the activities of the oscillating units. With these types of units, it is possible to not only add units to, or remove units from, a higher-level unit's logic operation using top-down feedback, but also to modify the type of role that a unit plays in the operation. Finally, we explore how different network properties affect top-down control and processing in large networks. Based on this, we make predictions about the likely connectivities between certain brain regions that have been experimentally observed to be involved in goal-directed behavior and top-down attention.
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    Interplay of Intrinsic and Synaptic Conductances in the Generation of High-Frequency Oscillations in Interneuronal Networks with Irregular Spiking
    Baroni, F ; Burkitt, AN ; Grayden, DB ; Sporns, O (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-05)
    High-frequency oscillations (above 30 Hz) have been observed in sensory and higher-order brain areas, and are believed to constitute a general hallmark of functional neuronal activation. Fast inhibition in interneuronal networks has been suggested as a general mechanism for the generation of high-frequency oscillations. Certain classes of interneurons exhibit subthreshold oscillations, but the effect of this intrinsic neuronal property on the population rhythm is not completely understood. We study the influence of intrinsic damped subthreshold oscillations in the emergence of collective high-frequency oscillations, and elucidate the dynamical mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon. We simulate neuronal networks composed of either Integrate-and-Fire (IF) or Generalized Integrate-and-Fire (GIF) neurons. The IF model displays purely passive subthreshold dynamics, while the GIF model exhibits subthreshold damped oscillations. Individual neurons receive inhibitory synaptic currents mediated by spiking activity in their neighbors as well as noisy synaptic bombardment, and fire irregularly at a lower rate than population frequency. We identify three factors that affect the influence of single-neuron properties on synchronization mediated by inhibition: i) the firing rate response to the noisy background input, ii) the membrane potential distribution, and iii) the shape of Inhibitory Post-Synaptic Potentials (IPSPs). For hyperpolarizing inhibition, the GIF IPSP profile (factor iii)) exhibits post-inhibitory rebound, which induces a coherent spike-mediated depolarization across cells that greatly facilitates synchronous oscillations. This effect dominates the network dynamics, hence GIF networks display stronger oscillations than IF networks. However, the restorative current in the GIF neuron lowers firing rates and narrows the membrane potential distribution (factors i) and ii), respectively), which tend to decrease synchrony. If inhibition is shunting instead of hyperpolarizing, post-inhibitory rebound is not elicited and factors i) and ii) dominate, yielding lower synchrony in GIF networks than in IF networks.
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