Medical Bionics - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 69
Harmonization of Outcomes and Vision Endpoints in Vision Restoration Trials: Recommendations from the International HOVER Taskforce
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2020-07-01)
Translational research in vision prosthetics, gene therapy, optogenetics, stem cell and other forms of transplantation, and sensory substitution is creating new therapeutic options for patients with neural forms of blindness. The technical challenges faced by each of these disciplines differ considerably, but they all face the same challenge of how to assess vision in patients with ultra-low vision (ULV), who will be the earliest subjects to receive new therapies. Historically, there were few tests to assess vision in ULV patients. In the 1990s, the field of visual prosthetics expanded rapidly, and this activity led to a heightened need to develop better tests to quantify end points for clinical studies. Each group tended to develop novel tests, which made it difficult to compare outcomes across groups. The common lack of validation of the tests and the variable use of controls added to the challenge of interpreting the outcomes of these clinical studies. In 2014, at the bi-annual International "Eye and the Chip" meeting of experts in the field of visual prosthetics, a group of interested leaders agreed to work cooperatively to develop the International Harmonization of Outcomes and Vision Endpoints in Vision Restoration Trials (HOVER) Taskforce. Under this banner, more than 80 specialists across seven topic areas joined an effort to formulate guidelines for performing and reporting psychophysical tests in humans who participate in clinical trials for visual restoration. This document provides the complete version of the consensus opinions from the HOVER taskforce, which, together with its rules of governance, will be posted on the website of the Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology (www.artificialvision.org). Research groups or companies that choose to follow these guidelines are encouraged to include a specific statement to that effect in their communications to the public. The Executive Committee of the HOVER Taskforce will maintain a list of all human psychophysical research in the relevant fields of research on the same website to provide an overview of methods and outcomes of all clinical work being performed in an attempt to restore vision to the blind. This website will also specify which scientific publications contain the statement of certification. The website will be updated every 2 years and continue to exist as a living document of worldwide efforts to restore vision to the blind. The HOVER consensus document has been written by over 80 of the world's experts in vision restoration and low vision and provides recommendations on the measurement and reporting of patient outcomes in vision restoration trials.
Assessing hearing by measuring heartbeat: The effect of sound level
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-02-28)
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive brain imaging technique that measures changes in oxygenated and de-oxygenated hemoglobin concentration and can provide a measure of brain activity. In addition to neural activity, fNIRS signals contain components that can be used to extract physiological information such as cardiac measures. Previous studies have shown changes in cardiac activity in response to different sounds. This study investigated whether cardiac responses collected using fNIRS differ for different loudness of sounds. fNIRS data were collected from 28 normal hearing participants. Cardiac response measures evoked by broadband, amplitude-modulated sounds were extracted for four sound intensities ranging from near-threshold to comfortably loud levels (15, 40, 65 and 90 dB Sound Pressure Level (SPL)). Following onset of the noise stimulus, heart rate initially decreased for sounds of 15 and 40 dB SPL, reaching a significantly lower rate at 15 dB SPL. For sounds at 65 and 90 dB SPL, increases in heart rate were seen. To quantify the timing of significant changes, inter-beat intervals were assessed. For sounds at 40 dB SPL, an immediate significant change in the first two inter-beat intervals following sound onset was found. At other levels, the most significant change appeared later (beats 3 to 5 following sound onset). In conclusion, changes in heart rate were associated with the level of sound with a clear difference in response to near-threshold sounds compared to comfortably loud sounds. These findings may be used alone or in conjunction with other measures such as fNIRS brain activity for evaluation of hearing ability.
Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation evokes resonant neural activity
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a rapidly expanding treatment for neurological and psychiatric conditions; however, a target-specific biomarker is required to optimize therapy. Here, we show that DBS evokes a large-amplitude resonant neural response focally in the subthalamic nucleus. This response is greatest in the dorsal region (the clinically optimal stimulation target for Parkinson disease), coincides with improved clinical performance, is chronically recordable, and is present under general anesthesia. These features make it a readily utilizable electrophysiological signal that could potentially be used for guiding electrode implantation surgery and tailoring DBS therapy to improve patient outcomes. Ann Neurol 2018;83:1027-1031.
Short-Term Environmental Stimulation Spatiotemporally Modulates Specific Serotonin Receptor Gene Expression and Behavioral Pharmacology in a Sexually Dimorphic Manner in Huntington's Disease Transgenic Mice
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2018-12-10)
Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a tandem repeat mutation encoding an expanded polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein, which leads to cognitive, psychiatric and motor dysfunction. Exposure to environmental enrichment (EE), which enhances levels of cognitive stimulation and physical activity, has therapeutic effects on cognitive, affective and motor function of transgenic HD mice. The present study investigated gene expression changes and behavioral pharmacology in male and female R6/1 transgenic HD mice at an early time-point in HD progression associated with onset of cognitive and affective abnormalities, following EE and exercise (wheel running) interventions. We have demonstrated changes in expression levels of the serotonin (5-HT) receptor Htr1a, Htr1b, Htr2a and Htr2c genes (encoding the 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors, respectively) in HD brains at 8 weeks of age, using quantitative real-time PCR. In contrast, expression of the serotonin transporter (SerT, also known as 5-HTT or Slc6a4) was not altered in these brains. Furthermore, we identified region-specific, sex-specific and environmentally regulated (comparing EE, exercise and standard housing conditions) impacts on gene expression of particular 5-HT receptors, as well as SerT. For example, SerT gene expression was upregulated by exercise (wheel running from 6 to 8 weeks of age) in the hippocampus. Interestingly, when EE was introduced from 6 to 8 weeks of age, Htr2a gene expression was upregulated in the cortex, striatum and hippocampus of male mice. EE also rescued the functional activity of 5-HT2 receptors as observed in the head-twitch test, reflecting sexually dimorphic effects of environmental stimulation. These findings demonstrate that disruption of the serotonergic system occurs early in HD pathogenesis and, together with previous findings, show that the timing and duration of environmental interventions are critical in terms of their ability to modify gene expression. This study is the first to show that EE is able to selectively enhance both gene expression of a neurotransmitter receptor and the functional consequences on behavioral pharmacology, and links this molecular modulation to the therapeutic effects of environmental stimulation in this neurodegenerative disease.
Temporal Coding of Voice Pitch Contours in Mandarin Tones
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2018-07-24)
Accurate perception of time-variant pitch is important for speech recognition, particularly for tonal languages with different lexical tones such as Mandarin, in which different tones convey different semantic information. Previous studies reported that the auditory nerve and cochlear nucleus can encode different pitches through phase-locked neural activities. However, little is known about how the inferior colliculus (IC) encodes the time-variant periodicity pitch of natural speech. In this study, the Mandarin syllable /ba/ pronounced with four lexical tones (flat, rising, falling then rising and falling) were used as stimuli. Local field potentials (LFPs) and single neuron activity were simultaneously recorded from 90 sites within contralateral IC of six urethane-anesthetized and decerebrate guinea pigs in response to the four stimuli. Analysis of the temporal information of LFPs showed that 93% of the LFPs exhibited robust encoding of periodicity pitch. Pitch strength of LFPs derived from the autocorrelogram was significantly (p < 0.001) stronger for rising tones than flat and falling tones. Pitch strength are also significantly increased (p < 0.05) with the characteristic frequency (CF). On the other hand, only 47% (42 or 90) of single neuron activities were significantly synchronized to the fundamental frequency of the stimulus suggesting that the temporal spiking pattern of single IC neuron could encode the time variant periodicity pitch of speech robustly. The difference between the number of LFPs and single neurons that encode the time-variant F0 voice pitch supports the notion of a transition at the level of IC from direct temporal coding in the spike trains of individual neurons to other form of neural representation.
Transmural impedance detects graded changes of inflammation in experimental colitis
(ROYAL SOC, 2020-02-19)
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease in which the mucosa of the colon or rectum becomes inflamed. An objective biomarker of inflammation will provide quantitative measures to support qualitative assessment during an endoscopic examination. Previous studies show that transmural electrical impedance is a quantifiable biomarker of inflammation. Here, we hypothesize that impedance detects spatially restricted areas of inflammation, thereby allowing the distinction between regions that differ in their severity of inflammation. A platinum ball electrode was placed into minimally inflamed (i.e. normal) or 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS)-inflamed colonic regions of rats and impedance measurements obtained by passing current between the intraluminal and subcutaneous return electrode. Histology of the colon was correlated with impedance measurements. The impedance of minimally inflamed (normal) tissue was 1.5-1.9 kΩ. Following TNBS injection, impedance significantly decreased within the inflammatory penumbra (p < 0.05), and decreased more in the inflammatory epicentre (p = 0.02). Histological damage correlated with impedance values (p < 0.05). Thus, impedance values of 1.5-1.9, 1.3-1.4 and 0.9-1.1 kΩ corresponded to minimally inflamed, mildly inflamed and moderately inflamed tissue, respectively. In conclusion, transmural impedance is an objective, spatially localized biomarker of mucosal integrity, and distinguishes between severities of intestinal inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory Effects of Abdominal Vagus Nerve Stimulation on Experimental Intestinal Inflammation
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-05-08)
Electrical stimulation of the cervical vagus nerve is an emerging treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, side effects from cervical vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) are often reported by patients. Here we hypothesized that stimulating the vagus nerve closer to the end organ will have fewer off-target effects and will effectively reduce intestinal inflammation. Specifically, we aimed to: (i) compare off-target effects during abdominal and cervical VNS; (ii) verify that VNS levels were suprathreshold; and (iii) determine whether abdominal VNS reduces chemically-induced intestinal inflammation in rats. An electrode array was developed in-house to stimulate and record vagal neural responses. In a non-recovery experiment, stimulation-induced off-target effects were measured by implanting the cervical and abdominal vagus nerves of anaesthetized rats (n = 5) and recording changes to heart rate, respiration and blood pressure during stimulation (10 Hz; symmetric biphasic current pulse; 320 nC per phase). In a chronic experiment, the efficacy of VNS treatment was assessed by implanting an electrode array onto the abdominal vagus nerve and recording in vivo electrically-evoked neural responses during the implantation period. After 14 days, the intestine was inflamed with TNBS (2.5% 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid) and rats received therapeutic VNS (n = 7; 10 Hz; 320 nC per phase; 3 h/day) or no stimulation (n = 8) for 4.5 days. Stool quality, plasma C-reactive protein and histology of the inflamed intestine were assessed. Data show that abdominal VNS had no effect (two-way RM-ANOVA: P ≥ 0.05) on cardiac, respiratory and blood pressure parameters. However, during cervical VNS heart rate decreased by 31 ± 9 beats/minute (P ≥ 0.05), respiration was inhibited and blood pressure decreased. Data addressing efficacy of VNS treatment show that electrically-evoked neural response thresholds remained stable (one-way RM ANOVA: P ≥ 0.05) and therapeutic stimulation remained above threshold. Chronically stimulated rats, compared to unstimulated rats, had improved stool quality (two-way RM ANOVA: P < 0.0001), no blood in feces (P < 0.0001), reduced plasma C-reactive protein (two-way RM ANOVA: P < 0.05) and a reduction in resident inflammatory cell populations within the intestine (Kruskal-Wallis: P < 0.05). In conclusion, abdominal VNS did not evoke off-target effects, is an effective treatment of TNBS-induced inflammation, and may be an effective treatment of IBD in humans.
Differential effects of vagus nerve stimulation strategies on glycemia and pancreatic secretions
Despite advancements in pharmacotherapies, glycemia is poorly controlled in type 2 diabetic patients. As the vagus nerve regulates energy metabolism, here we evaluated the effect various electrical vagus nerve stimulation strategies have on glycemia and glucose-regulating hormones, as a first step to developing a novel therapy of type 2 diabetes. Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized, the abdominal (anterior) vagus nerve implanted, and various stimulation strategies applied to the nerve: (a) 15 Hz; (b) 4 kHz, or 40 kHz and; (c) a combination of 15 Hz and 40 kHz to directionally activate afferent or efferent vagal fibers. Following a glucose bolus (500 mg/kg, I.V.), stimulation strategies were applied (60 min) and serial blood samples taken. No stimulation was used as a crossover control sequence. Applying 15 Hz stimulation significantly increased glucose (+2.9 ± 0.2 mM·hr, p = .015) and glucagon (+17.1 ± 8.0 pg·hr/ml, p = .022), compared to no stimulation. Application of 4 kHz stimulation also significantly increased glucose levels (+1.5 ± 0.5 mM·hr, p = .049), while 40 kHz frequency stimulation resulted in no changes to glucose levels but did significantly lower glucagon (-12.3 ± 1.1 pg·hr/ml, p = .0009). Directional afferent stimulation increased glucose (+2.4 ± 1.5 mM·hr) and glucagon levels (+39.5 ± 15.0 pg·hr/ml). Despite hyperglycemia resulting when VNS, aVNS, and 4 kHz stimulation strategies were applied, the changes in insulin levels were not significant (p ≥ .05). In summary, vagus nerve stimulation modulates glycemia by effecting glucagon and insulin secretions, and high-frequency 40 kHz stimulation may have potential application for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Ring and peg electrodes for minimally-Invasive and long-term sub-scalp EEG recordings
OBJECTIVE: Minimally-invasive approaches are needed for long-term reliable Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings to assist with epilepsy diagnosis, investigation and more naturalistic monitoring. This study compared three methods for long-term implantation of sub-scalp EEG electrodes. METHODS: Three types of electrodes (disk, ring, and peg) were fabricated from biocompatible materials and implanted under the scalp in five ambulatory ewes for 3months. Disk electrodes were inserted into sub-pericranial pockets. Ring electrodes were tunneled under the scalp. Peg electrodes were inserted into the skull, close to the dura. EEG was continuously monitored wirelessly. High resolution CT imaging, histopathology, and impedance measurements were used to assess the status of the electrodes at the end of the study. RESULTS: EEG amplitude was larger in the peg compared with the disk and ring electrodes (p<0.05). Similarly, chewing artifacts were lower in the peg electrodes (p<0.05). Electrode impedance increased after long-term implantation particularly for those within the bone (p<0.01). Micro-CT scans indicated that all electrodes stayed within the sub-scalp layers. All pegs remained within the burr holes as implanted with no evidence of extrusion. Eight of 10 disks partially eroded into the bone by 1.0mm from the surface of the skull. The ring arrays remained within the sub-scalp layers close to implantation site. Histology revealed that the electrodes were encapsulated in a thin fibrous tissue adjacent to the pericranium. Overlying this was a loose connective layer and scalp. Erosion into the bone occurred under the rim of the sub-pericranial disk electrodes. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the peg electrodes provided high quality EEG, mechanical stability, and lower chewing artifact. Whereas, ring electrode arrays tunneled under the scalp enable minimal surgical techniques to be used for implantation and removal.
Effects of heating and cooling on nerve terminal impulses recorded from cold-sensitive receptors in the guinea-pig cornea
(ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2003-05-01)
An in vitro preparation of the guinea-pig cornea was used to study the effects of changing temperature on nerve terminal impulses recorded extracellularly from cold-sensitive receptors. At a stable holding temperature (31-32.5 degrees C), cold receptors had an ongoing periodic discharge of nerve terminal impulses. This activity decreased or ceased with heating and increased with cooling. Reducing the rate of temperature change reduced the respective effects of heating and cooling on nerve terminal impulse frequency. In addition to changes in the frequency of activity, nerve terminal impulse shape also changed with heating and cooling. At the same ambient temperature, nerve terminal impulses were larger in amplitude and faster in time course during heating than those recorded during cooling. The magnitude of these effects of heating and cooling on nerve terminal impulse shape was reduced if the rate of temperature change was slowed. At 29, 31.5, and 35 degrees C, a train of 50 electrical stimuli delivered to the ciliary nerves at 10-40 Hz produced a progressive increase in the amplitude of successive nerve terminal impulses evoked during the train. Therefore, it is unlikely that the reduction in nerve terminal impulse amplitude observed during cooling is due to the activity-dependent changes in the nerve terminal produced by the concomitant increase in impulse frequency. Instead, the differences in nerve terminal impulse shape observed at the same ambient temperature during heating and cooling may reflect changes in the membrane potential of the nerve terminal associated with thermal transduction.
Organotypic Cocultures of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived-Neurons with Mammalian Inner Ear Hair Cells and Cochlear Nucleus Slices
(Hindawi Limited, 2019-11-20)
Stem cells have been touted as a source of potential replacement neurons for inner ear degeneration for almost two decades now; yet to date, there are few studies describing the use of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for this purpose. If stem cell therapies are to be used clinically, it is critical to validate the usefulness of hPSC lines in vitro and in vivo. Here, we present the first quantitative evidence that differentiated hPSC-derived neurons that innervate both the inner ear hair cells and cochlear nucleus neurons in coculture, with significantly more new synaptic contacts formed on target cell types. Nascent contacts between stem cells and hair cells were immunopositive for both synapsin I and VGLUT1, closely resembling expression of these puncta in endogenous postnatal auditory neurons and control cocultures. When hPSCs were cocultured with cochlear nucleus brainstem slice, significantly greater numbers of VGLUT1 puncta were observed in comparison to slice alone. New VGLUT1 puncta in cocultures with cochlear nucleus slice were not significantly different in size, only in quantity. This experimentation describes new coculture models for assessing auditory regeneration using well-characterised hPSC-derived neurons and highlights useful methods to quantify the extent of innervation on different cell types in the inner ear and brainstem.