Graeme Clark Collection

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    The multi-channel cochlear implant and the relief of severe-to-profound deafness.
    Clark, G (Informa UK Limited, 2012-05)
    This personal reflection outlines the discoveries at the University of Melbourne leading to the multi-channel cochlear implant, and its development industrially by Cochlear Limited. My earlier experimental electrophysiological research demonstrated temporal coding occurred for only low frequencies, i.e. below 200-500 pulses/second. I was able to confirm these findings perceptually in behaviourally conditioned animals. In addition, these studies showed that temporal discrimination occurred across spatial coding channels. These experimental results correlated with the later conscious experience for electrical stimulation in my implant patients. In addition, the mid-to-high frequencies were coded in part by place of stimulation using bipolar and monopolar stimulation to restrict current spread. Furthermore, place of stimulation had the qualities of sharpness and dullness, and was also experienced as vowels. Owing to the limitation in coding speech with a physiological model due to the overlap of electrical current leading to unpredictable variations in loudness, a speech coding strategy that extracted the most important speech features for transmission through an electro-neural 'bottle-neck' to the brain was explored. Our inaugural strategy, discovered in 1978, extracted the second formant for place of stimulation, voicing for rate of stimulation, and sound pressure for current level. This was the first coding strategy to provide open-set speech understanding, as shown by standard audiological tests, and it became the first clinically successful interface between the world and human consciousness. This strategy was improved with place coding for the third formant or high-frequency spectrum, and then the spectral maxima. In 1989, I operated on our first patient to receive a bilateral implant, and in 1990, the first with a bimodal processor. The psychophysics and speech perception for these showed that the stimuli from each side could be fused into a single image, and localized according to differences in intensity and time of arrival of the stimuli. There were significant improvements for speech perception in noise. In 1985, I implanted our first children with the multi-channel prosthesis and found that speech understanding and spoken language were greatly improved the younger the child at surgery, and especially when younger than 12 months. Speech understanding was strongly related to the development of place coding. In 1990, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the implant for deaf children, the first by any world health regulatory body making it the first major advance in helping deaf children to communicate.
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    Midbrain responses to micro-stimulation of the cochlea using high density thin-film arrays
    Allitt, BJ ; Morgan, SJ ; Bell, S ; Nayagam, DAX ; Arhatari, B ; Clark, GM ; Paolini, AG (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2012-05-01)
    A broader activation of auditory nerve fibres than normal using a cochlear implant contributes to poor frequency discrimination. As cochlear implants also deliver a restricted dynamic range, this hinders the ability to segregate sound sources. Better frequency coding and control over amplitude may be achieved by limiting current spread during electrical stimulation of the cochlea and positioning electrodes closer to the modiolus. Thin-film high density microelectrode arrays and conventional platinum ring electrode arrays were used to stimulate the cochlea of urethane-anaesthetized rats and responses compared. Neurophysiological recordings were taken at 197 multi-unit clusters in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (CIC), a site that receives direct monaural innervation from the cochlear nucleus. CIC responses to both the platinum ring and high density electrodes were recorded and differences in activity to changes in stimulation intensity, thresholds and frequency coding of neural activation were examined. The high density electrode array elicited less CIC activity at nonspecific frequency regions than the platinum ring electrode array. The high density electrode array produced significantly lower thresholds and larger dynamic ranges than the platinum ring electrode array when positioned close to the modiolus. These results suggest that a higher density of stimulation sites on electrodes that effectively 'aim' current, combined with placement closer to the modiolus would permit finer control over charge delivery. This may equate to improved frequency specific perception and control over amplitude when using future cochlear implant devices.
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    Can we prevent cochlear implant recipients from developing pneumococcal meningitis?
    Wei, BPC ; Robins-Browne, RM ; Shepherd, RK ; Clark, GM ; O'Leary, SJ (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008-01-01)
    The restoration of hearing to persons with severely or profoundly impaired hearing by means of a cochlear implant is one of the great achievements of bionics applied to medicine. However, pneumococcal meningitis in implant recipients has received high profile public attention as a result of the US Food and Drug Administration's public health notification and recent media attention. Worldwide, 118 of the 60,000 people who received cochlear implants over the past 20 years have acquired meningitis, causing deep concern in the international medical community. This review provides answers to pediatricians, internists, and infectious diseases doctors who have patients with cochlear implants and who have questions about the safety of the cochlear implant from both the clinical and scientific research perspectives. Both clinical and laboratory research support the notion that pneumococcal meningitis is more likely in patients who receive cochlear implantation, and that the surgical insertion technique and the cochlear implant design should be nontraumatic, and that all cochlear implant recipients should be offered vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae.
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    Promoting neurite outgrowth from spiral ganglion neuron explants using polypyrrole/BDNF-coated electrodes
    Evans, AJ ; Thompson, BC ; Wallace, GG ; Millard, R ; O'Leary, SJ ; Clark, GM ; Shepherd, RK ; Richardson, RT (WILEY, 2009-10-01)
    Release of neurotrophin-3 (NT3) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from hair cells in the cochlea is essential for the survival of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs). Loss of hair cells associated with a sensorineural hearing loss therefore results in degeneration of SGNs, potentially reducing the performance of a cochlear implant. Exogenous replacement of either or both neurotrophins protects SGNs from degeneration after deafness. We previously incorporated NT3 into the conducting polymer polypyrrole (Ppy) synthesized with para-toluene sulfonate (pTS) to investigate whether Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated cochlear implant electrodes could provide both neurotrophic support and electrical stimulation for SGNs. Enhanced and controlled release of NT3 was achieved when Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated electrodes were subjected to electrical stimulation. Here we describe the release dynamics and biological properties of Ppy/pTS with incorporated BDNF. Release studies demonstrated slow passive diffusion of BDNF from Ppy/pTS/BDNF, with electrical stimulation significantly enhancing BDNF release over 7 days. A 3-day SGN explant assay found that neurite outgrowth from explants was 12.3-fold greater when polymers contained BDNF (p < 0.001), although electrical stimulation did not increase neurite outgrowth further. The versatility of Ppy to store and release neurotrophins, conduct electrical charge, and act as a substrate for nerve-electrode interactions is discussed for specialized applications such as cochlear implants.
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    Polypyrrole-coated electrodes for the delivery of charge and neurotrophins to cochlear neurons
    Richardson, RT ; Wise, AK ; Thompson, BC ; Flynn, BO ; Atkinson, PJ ; Fretwell, NJ ; Fallon, JB ; Wallace, GG ; Shepherd, RK ; Clark, GM ; O'Leary, SJ (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2009-05-01)
    Sensorineural hearing loss is associated with gradual degeneration of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), compromising hearing outcomes with cochlear implant use. Combination of neurotrophin delivery to the cochlea and electrical stimulation from a cochlear implant protects SGNs, prompting research into neurotrophin-eluting polymer electrode coatings. The electrically conducting polypyrrole/para-toluene sulfonate containing neurotrophin-3 (Ppy/pTS/NT3) was applied to 1.7 mm2 cochlear implant electrodes. Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated electrode arrays stored 2 ng NT3 and released 0.1 ng/day with electrical stimulation. Guinea pigs were implanted with Ppy/pTS or Ppy/pTS/NT3 electrode arrays two weeks after deafening via aminoglycosides. The electrodes of a subgroup of these guinea pigs were electrically stimulated for 8 h/day for 2 weeks. There was a loss of SGNs in the implanted cochleae of guinea pigs with Ppy/pTS-coated electrodes indicative of electrode insertion damage. However, guinea pigs implanted with electrically stimulated Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated electrodes had lower electrically-evoked auditory brainstem response thresholds and greater SGN densities in implanted cochleae compared to non-implanted cochleae and compared to animals implanted with Ppy/pTS-coated electrodes (p<0.05). Ppy/pTS/NT3 did not exacerbate fibrous tissue formation and did not affect electrode impedance. Drug-eluting conducting polymer coatings on cochlear implant electrodes present a clinically viable method to promote preservation of SGNs without adversely affecting the function of the cochlear implant.
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    A multiple-channel cochlear implant: an evaluation using open-set CID sentences
    Clark, Graeme M. ; Tong, Yit Chow ; Martin, Lois F. A. ( 1981)
    A multiple-channel cochlear implant and speech processor have been used in two postlingually deaf adult patients with a total hearing loss, to enable them to perceive varying degrees of running speech. The results have been confirmed with open-set CID everyday sentence tests. Using the implant alone, the patients obtained 8% and 14% scores with pre-recorded material, and 34% and 36% scores for "live" presentations. This was equivalent to the perception of 35% of connected discourse. When the implant was used in conjunction with lipreading, improvements of 188% and 386% were obtained over lipreading alone, and the scores were 68% and 98% which were equivalent to the perception of 60% and 95% of connected discourse.
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    Speech processor design for a multiple-channel cochlear implant
    Tong, Y. C. ; Clark, Graeme M. ; Busby, P. A. ; Millar, J. B. ; Martin, L. F. ( 1980)
    This paper outlines the strategy adopted for a laboratory-based speech processor used to provide speech information to patients with a multiple-channel cochlear implant It also presents the results of vowel and consonant recognition studies and speech test using open sets of words and sentences.
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    A protocol for the prevention of infection in cochlear implant surgery
    Clark, Graeme M. ; Pyman, Brian C. ; Pavillard, Robin E. (Cambridge University Press, 1980)
    The reduction of infection to an absolute minimum is a very desirable goal in any form of surgery. It is especially important with a cochlear implant operation as infection in the labyrinth can lead to degeneration of the auditory nerve fibres it is hoped to stimulate electrically (Clark et al, 1975). Furthermore, as the implantation of foreign materials increases the risk of infection, as the operation can last 6-7 hours (Altemeier et al., 1976), and as the operators are in very close proximity to the implant site, more stringent measures for the prevention of infection need to be adopted than with other forms of otological surgery. For these reasons a protocol has been developed for preventing infection in our cochlear implant surgery. This is an overall approach to the prevention of infection and involves pre-operative measures, an operating theatre routine, the use of horizontal laminar flow filter units, correct surgical technique and the use of systemic and local antibiotics.
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    A preliminary report on a multiple-channel cochlear implant operation
    Tong, Y. C. ; Black, R. C. ; Clark, Graeme M. ; Forster, I. C. ; Millar, J. B. ; O'Loughlin, B. J. ; Patrick, J. F. (Cambridge University Press, 1979)
    Intra-cochlear single-channel electrical stimulation has recently been attempted by Michelson (1971) and by House and Urban (1973). Douek et at. (1977) have described experiments with a single-channel promontory electrode system. It is generally accepted that a single-channel system is useful in conveying crude auditory information such as the presence of sounds and some prosodic features of speech (Bilger et al., 1977; Douek et al., 1977). (From Introduction)
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    The surgery for multiple-electrode cochlear implantations
    Clark, Graeme M. ; Pyman, Brian C. ; Bailey, Quentin R. (Cambridge University Press, 1979)
    The multiple-electrode hearing prosthesis designed in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Electrical Engineering (UMDOLEE) at the University of Melbourne (Clark et al., 1977) has been miniaturized with hybrid circuitry so that, if design changes are necessary as a result of initial patient testing, they can be made at minimal cost. This results, however, in increased package dimensions which makes its placement and the design of the surgery more critical. This problem is increased by the fact that we have considered it important to be able to remove the package and replace it with another without disturbing the implanted electrode array, should the first receiver-stimulator fail or an improved design become available. This has meant the design of a special connector (Patrick, 1977; Clark et al., 1978) which adds to the dimensions of the implanted unit. In addition the placement of the coils for transmitting power and information has to be considered. Not only is it desirable to site the coils at a convenient location behind the ear to facilitate the placement and wearing of the external transmitter, but there should also be no relative movement between the coils and the electronic package. These design considerations have led to the sitting of the coils on top of the hermetically-sealed box, and further increased the height of the package. The dimensions of the package shown in Fig. 1 are length 42 mm, width 32 mm, height of connector 8.5 mm, height of receiver-stimulato unit 13 mm. The surgical considerations discussed are the result of a number of temporal bone and cadaver dissections, and the surgical implantation at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital of the UMDOLEE unit in a specially-selected patient.