Graeme Clark Collection

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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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    Comparison of electrode position in the human cochlea using various perimodiolar electrode arrays
    TYKOCINSKI, MICHAEL ; Cohen, Lawrence T. ; Pyman, Brian C. ; Roland (Jr), Thomas ; Treaba, Claudiu ; PALAMARA, JOSEPH ; Dahm, Markus C. ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; XU, JIN ; Cowan, Robert S. ; Cohen, Noel L. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 2000)
    Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the insertion properties and intracochlear trajectories of three perimodiolar electrode array designs and to compare these designs with the standard Cochlear /Melbourne array. Background: Advantages to be expected of a perimodiolar electrode array include both a reduction in stimulus thresholds and an increase in dynamic range, resulting in a more localized stimulation pattern of the spiral ganglion cells, reduced power consumption, and, therefore, longer speech processor battery life. Methods: The test arrays were implanted into human temporal bones. Image analysis was performed on a radiograph taken after the insertion. The cochleas were then histologically processed with the electrode array in situ, and the resulting sections were subsequently assessed for position of the electrode array as well as insertion-related intracochlear damage. Results: All perimodiolar electrode arrays were inserted deeper and showed trajectories that were generally closer to the modiolus compared with the standard electrode array. However, although the precurved array designs did not show significant insertion trauma, the method of insertion needed improvement. After insertion of the straight electrode array with positioner, signs of severe insertion trauma in the majority o fimplanted cochleas were found. Conclusions: Although it was possible to position the electrode arrays close to the modiolus, none of the three perimodiolar designs investigated fulfilled satisfactorily all three criteria of being easy, safe, and a traumatic to implant.
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    Chronic electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve at high stimulus rates: a physiological and histopathological study
    XU, JIN ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; Millard, Rodney E. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1997)
    A major factor associated with recent improvements in the clinical performance of cochlear implant patients has been the development of speech-processing strategies based on high stimulation rates. While these processing strategies show clear clinical advantage, we know little of their long-term safety implications. The present study was designed to evaluate the physiological and histopathological effects of long-term intracochlear electrical stimulation using these high rates. Thirteen normal-hearing adult cats were bilaterally implanted with scala tympani electrode arrays and unilaterally stimulated for periods of up to 2100 h using either two pairs of bipolar or three monopolar stimulating electrodes. Stimuli consisted of short duration (25-50 µs/phase) charge-balanced biphasic current pulses presented at 1000 pulses per second (pps) per channel for monopolar stimulation, and 2000 pps/channel for bipolar stimulation. The electrodes were shorted between current pulses to minimize any residual direct current, and the pulse trains were presented using a 50% duty cycle (500 ms on; 500 ms oft) in order to simulate speech. Both acoustic (ABR) and electrical (EABR) auditory brainstem responses were recorded periodically during the chronic stimulation program, All cochleas showed an increase in the click-evoked ABR threshold following implant surgery; however, recovery to near-normal levels occurred in approximately half of the stimulated cochleas 1 month post-operatively. The use of frequency-specific stimuli indicated that the most extensive hearing loss generally occurred in the high-frequency basal region of the cochlea (12 and 24 kHz) adjacent to the stimulating electrode. However, thresholds at lower frequencies (2, 4 and 8 kHz), appeared at near-normal levels despite long-term electrode implantation and electrical stimulation. Our longitudinal EABR results showed a statistically significant increase in threshold in nearly 40% of the chronically stimulated electrodes evaluated; however, the gradient of the EABR input/output (I/O) function (evoked potential response amplitude versus stimulus current) generally remained quite stable throughout the chronic stimulation period. Histopathological examination of the cochleas showed no statistically significant difference in ganglion cell densities between cochleas using monopolar and bipolar electrode configurations (P = 0.67), and no evidence of cochlear damage caused by high-rate electrical stimulation when compared with control cochleas. Indeed, there was no statistically significant relationship between spiral ganglion cell density and electrical stimulation (P = 0.459), or between the extent of loss of inner (IHC, P = 0.86) or outer (OHC, P=0.30) hair cells and electrical stimulation. Spiral ganglion cell loss was, however, influenced by the degree of inflammation (P=0.016) and electrode insertion trauma. These histopathological findings were consistent with the physiological data. Finally, electrode impedance, measured at completion of the chronic stimulation program, showed close correlation with the degree of tissue response adjacent to the electrode array. These results indicated that chronic intracochlear electrical stimulation, using carefully controlled charge-balanced biphasic current pulses at stimulus rates of up to 2000 pps/channel, does not appear to adversely affect residual auditory nerve elements or the cochlea in general. This study provides an important basis for the safe application of improved speech-processing strategies based on high-rate electrical stimulation.
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    Reduction in excitability of the auditory nerve following electrical simulation at high stimulus rates. II. Comparison of fixed amplitude with amplitude modulated stimuli
    TYKOCINSKI, MICHAEL ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1997)
    We have previously shown that acute electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve using charge-balanced biphasic current pulses presented continuously can lead to a prolonged decrement in auditory nerve excitability (Tykocinski et al., Hear. Res. 88 (1995), 124-142). This work also demonstrated a reduction in electrically evoked auditory brainstem response (EABR) amplitude decrement when using an otherwise equivalent pulse train with a 50% duty cycle. In the present study we have extended this work in order to compare the effects of electrical stimulation using both fixed amplitude electrical pulse trains and amplitude modulated (AM) pulse trains that more accurately model the dynamic stimulus paradigms used in cochlear implants. EABRs were recorded from guinea pigs following acute stimulation using AM trains of charge-balanced biphasic current pulses. The extent of stimulus-induced reductions in the EABR were compared with our previous results using either fixed amplitude continuous, or 50% duty cycle pulse trains operating at 0.34 µC/phase (2 mA, 170 µs/phase) at 400 or 1000 pulses/s (Tykocinski et al., Hear. Res. 88 (1995) 124-142). The AM pulse train, operating at the same rates, was based on a I-s sequence of the most extensively activated electrode of a Nucleus Mini-22 cochlear implant using the SPEAK speech processing strategy exposed to 4-talker babble, and delivered the same total charge as the fixed amplitude 50% duty cycle pulse train. Two hours of continuous stimulation induced a significant, rate-dependent reduction in auditory nerve excitability, and showed only a slight post-stimulus recovery for monitoring periods of up to 6 hours. Following 2 or 4 h of stimulation using an otherwise equivalent pulse train with a 50% duty cycle or the AM pulse train, significantly less reduction in the EABR was observed, and recovery to pre-stimulus levels was generally rapid and complete. These differences in the extent of the recovery between the continuous waveform and both the 50% duty cycle and AM waveforms were statistically significant for both 400 and 1000 pulses/s stimuli. Consistent with our previous results, the stimulus changes observed using AM pulse trains were rate dependent, with higher rate stimuli evoking more extensive stimulus-induced changes. The present findings show that while stimulus-induced reductions in neural excitability are dependent on the extent of stimulus-induced neuronal activity, the use of an AM stimulus paradigm further reduces post-stimulus neural fatigue.
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    Effects of chronic electrical stimulation on spiral ganglion neuron survival and size in deafened kittens
    Araki, Susumu ; Kawano, Atsushi ; Seldon, H. Lee ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; Funasaka, Sotaro ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1998)
    We have studied spiral ganglion cell (SGC) survival and soma size in neonatally pharmacologically deafened kittens. They were implanted with a four-electrode array in the left cochlea at 100 to 180 or more days of age. Eight animals were chronically stimulated approximately 1000 hours over approximately 60 days with charge-balanced, biphasic current pulses; three were unstimulated controls. Using three-dimensional computer-aided reconstruction of the cochlea, the SGC position and cross-sectional area were stored. SGC position was mapped to the organ of Corti by perpendicular projections, starting from the basal end. The basal region of the cochlea was divided into three 4-mm segments. SGC survival (number per 0.1 mm of the length of the organ of Corti) and soma size for stimulated cochleae were compared statistically with implanted but unstimulated cochleae. There was no evidence of an effect of electrical stimulation on SGC survival under this protocol and with this duration. On the other hand, the cell size on the stimulated side was significantly larger than the control side in the middle segment (4 to 8 mm from the basal end). SGCs undergo a reduction in size after prolonged auditory deprivation; however, these changes may be partially moderated after chronic intracochlear electrical stimulation.
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    Monitoring the electrically evoked compound action potential by means of a new telemetry system
    Brown, M. ; Carter, P. M. ; Fisher, A. R. ; Nygard, T. M. ; Swanson, B. A. ; Shepherd, R. K. ; Tykocinski, M. ( 1995)
    It has been shown that behavioral thresholds in cochlear implant patients are well correlated to the electrically evoked auditory brain stem response (EABR).1 It is likely, therefore, that the electrically evoked compound action potential (ECAP), which is closely related to the EABR, will also show a similar correlation with behavioral threshold. Automatic measurement of a patient's ECAP would allow the patient's behavioral threshold level to be set automatically without any conscious input from him or her. It would offer the opportunity to greatly expedite the process of threshold setting and would be particularly useful in the case of young children, whose behavioral threshold levels can be difficult to judge. With this end in mind, an experimental system has been designed that allows the ECAP to be recorded with either scala tympani or extracochlear electrodes. The system, which uses a modified version of a standard cochlear implant, applies a biphasic stimulation pulse and records the ECAP a short time later. The recorded signal is transmitted by telemetry through the implant receiver coil to an external transmitter-receiver coil and is recovered and stored on computer. With the appropriate software it is then a relatively simple matter to determine the details of an evoked response. This paper presents the results of trials of the system on a guinea pig. The experiments were designed to evaluate the parameters to be used to obtain the clearest ECAP signal, with particular regard to the variables stimulating electrode position, stimulating electrode mode (bipolar or monopolar), sensing electrode position, sensing electrode mode, stimulation rate, and artifact cancellation scheme.
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    Cochlear implants in children: the value of cochleostomy seals in the prevention of labyrinthitis following pneumococcal otitis media
    Dahm, M. C. ; Webb, R. L. ; Clark, Graeme M. ; Franz, B. K-H. ; Shepherd, R. K. ; Burton, M. J. ; ROBINS-BROWNE, R. ( 1995)
    Cochlea implantation at an early age is important in rehabilitating profoundly hearing impaired children. Given the incidence of pneumococcal otitis media in young children, there has been concern that cochlear implantation could increase the possibility of otitis media, leading to labyrinthitis in this age group. Clinical experience has not indicated an increase in the frequency of otitis media and labyrinthitis in implanted adults or children over two years. However, labyrinthitis has occurred in implanted animals with otitis media. In order to assess the impact of cochlear implants on the occurrence of labyrinthitis, pneumococcal otitis media was induced in 21 kittens. Thirty-two kitten cochleas were implanted, of which 9 had a fascial graft and 9 a Gelfoam® graft. Nine control cochleas were unimplanted. Labyrinthitis occurred in 44% of unimplanted controls. 50% of implanted ungrafted cochleas, and 6% of implanted grafted cochleas. There was no statistically significant difference between the incidence of labyrinthitis in the implanted cochleas and the unimplanted controls. However there was a statistically significant difference between the ungrafted and grafted cochleas, but not between the two types of graft.