Medical Bionics - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 124
Intensity Discrimination and Speech Recognition of Cochlear Implant Users
The relation between speech recognition and within-channel or across-channel (i.e., spectral tilt) intensity discrimination was measured in nine CI users (11 ears). Within-channel intensity difference limens (IDLs) were measured at four electrode locations across the electrode array. Spectral tilt difference limens were measured with (XIDL-J) and without (XIDL) level jitter. Only three subjects could perform the XIDL-J task with the amount of jitter required to limit use of within-channel cues. XIDLs (normalized to %DR) were correlated with speech recognition (r = 0.67, P = 0.019) and were highly correlated with IDLs. XIDLs were on average nearly 3 times larger than IDLs and did not vary consistently with the spatial separation of the two component electrodes. The overall pattern of results was consistent with a common underlying subject-dependent limitation in the two difference limen tasks, hypothesized to be perceptual variance (how the perception of a sound differs on different presentations), which may also underlie the correlation of XIDLs with speech recognition. Evidence that spectral tilt discrimination is more important for speech recognition than within-channel intensity discrimination was not unequivocally shown in this study. However, the results tended to support this proposition, with XIDLs more correlated with speech performance than IDLs, and the ratio XIDL/IDL also being correlated with speech recognition. If supported by further research, the importance of perceptual variance as a limiting factor in speech understanding for CI users has important implications for efforts to improve outcomes for those with poor speech recognition.
Viral-mediated transduction of auditory neurons with opsins for optical and hybrid activation
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-27)
Optical stimulation is a paradigm-shifting approach to modulating neural activity that has the potential to overcome the issue of current spread that occurs with electrical stimulation by providing focused stimuli. But optical stimulation either requires high power infrared light or genetic modification of neurons to make them responsive to lower power visible light. This work examines optical activation of auditory neurons following optogenetic modification via AAV injection in two species (mouse and guinea pig). An Anc80 viral vector was used to express the channelrhodopsin variant ChR2-H134R fused to a fluorescent reporter gene under the control of the human synapsin-1 promoter. The AAV was administered directly to the cochlea (n = 33) or posterior semi-circular canal of C57BL/6 mice (n = 4) or to guinea pig cochleae (n = 6). Light (488 nm), electrical stimuli or the combination of these (hybrid stimulation) was delivered to the cochlea via a laser-coupled optical fibre and co-located platinum wire. Activation thresholds, spread of activation and stimulus interactions were obtained from multi-unit recordings from the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus of injected mice, as well as ChR2-H134R transgenic mice (n = 4). Expression of ChR2-H134R was examined by histology. In the mouse, transduction of auditory neurons by the Anc80 viral vector was most successful when injected at a neonatal age with up to 89% of neurons transduced. Auditory neuron transductions were not successful in guinea pigs. Inferior colliculus responses to optical stimuli were detected in a cochleotopic manner in all mice with ChR2-H134R expression. There was a significant correlation between lower activation thresholds in mice and higher proportions of transduced neurons. There was no difference in spread of activation between optical stimulation and electrical stimulation provided by the light/electrical delivery system used here (optical fibre with bonded 25 µm platinum/iridium wire). Hybrid stimulation, comprised of sub-threshold optical stimulation to 'prime' or raise the excitability of the neurons, lowered the threshold for electrical activation in most cases, but the impact on excitation width was more variable compared to transgenic mice. This study demonstrates the impact of opsin expression levels and expression pattern on optical and hybrid stimulation when considering optical or hybrid stimulation techniques for neuromodulation.
Speech metrics, general disability, brain imaging and quality of life in multiple sclerosis
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Objective measurement of speech has shown promising results to monitor disease state in multiple sclerosis. In this study, we characterize the relationship between disease severity and speech metrics through perceptual (listener based) and objective acoustic analysis. We further look at deviations of acoustic metrics in people with no perceivable dysarthria. METHODS: Correlations and regression were calculated between speech measurements and disability scores, brain volume, lesion load and quality of life. Speech measurements were further compared between three subgroups of increasing overall neurological disability: mild (as rated by the Expanded Disability Status Scale ≤2.5), moderate (≥3 and ≤5.5) and severe (≥6). RESULTS: Clinical speech impairment occurred majorly in people with severe disability. An experimental acoustic composite score differentiated mild from moderate (P < 0.001) and moderate from severe subgroups (P = 0.003), and correlated with overall neurological disability (r = 0.6, P < 0.001), quality of life (r = 0.5, P < 0.001), white matter volume (r = 0.3, P = 0.007) and lesion load (r = 0.3, P = 0.008). Acoustic metrics also correlated with disability scores in people with no perceivable dysarthria. CONCLUSIONS: Acoustic analysis offers a valuable insight into the development of speech impairment in multiple sclerosis. These results highlight the potential of automated analysis of speech to assist in monitoring disease progression and treatment response.
Cortex leads the thalamic centromedian nucleus in generalized epileptic discharges in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
Objective We aimed to assess the roles of the cortex and thalamus (centromedian nucleus [CM]) during epileptic activity in Lennox‐Gastaut syndrome (LGS) patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery as part of the ESTEL (Electrical Stimulation of the Thalamus for Epilepsy of Lennox‐Gastaut Phenotype) trial. Methods Twelve LGS patients (mean age = 26.8 years) underwent bilateral CM‐DBS implantation. Intraoperatively, simultaneous electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded (range = 10‐34 minutes) from scalp electrodes and bilateral thalamic DBS electrodes. Temporal onsets of epileptic discharges (generalized paroxysmal fast activity [GPFA] and slow spike‐and‐wave [SSW]) were manually marked on recordings from scalp (ie, "cortex") and thalamus (ie, CM‐DBS electrodes). Phase transfer entropy (PTE) analysis quantified the degree of information transfer from cortex to thalamus within different frequency bands around GPFA events. Results GPFA was captured in eight of 12 patients (total event number across patients = 168, cumulative duration = 358 seconds). Eighty‐six percent of GPFA events were seen in both scalp and thalamic recordings. In most events (83%), onset occurred first at scalp, with thalamic onset lagging by a median of 98 milliseconds (interquartile range = 78.5 milliseconds). Results for SSW were more variable and seen in 11 of 12 patients; 25.4% of discharges were noted in both scalp and thalamus. Of these, 74.5% occurred first at scalp, with a median lag of 75 milliseconds (interquartile range = 228 milliseconds). One to 0.5 seconds and 0.5‐0 seconds before GPFA onset, PTE analysis showed significant energy transfer from scalp to thalamus in the delta (1‐3 Hz) frequency band. For alpha (8‐12 Hz) and beta (13‐30 Hz) frequencies, PTE was greatest 1‐0.5 seconds before GPFA onset. Significance Epileptic activity is detectable in CM of thalamus, confirming that this nucleus participates in the epileptic network of LGS. Temporal onset of GPFA mostly occurs earlier at the scalp than in the thalamus. This supports our prior EEG–functional magnetic resonance imaging results and provides further evidence for a cortically driven process underlying GPFA in LGS.
Percutaneous intrarenal transplantation of differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells into newborn mice.
The in vivo engraftment of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived podocytes following allogeneic transplantation into host kidneys remains a challenge. Here we investigate the survival and engraftment of human dermal fibroblasts-derived differentiated iPSCs using a newborn mouse model, which represents a receptive immunoprivileged host environment. iPSCs were generated from skin biopsies of patients using Sendai virus reprogramming. Differentiation of nephrin (NPHS1)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) iPSCs into kidney podocytes (iPSC-PODs) was performed by the addition of Activin A, bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7), and retinoic acid over 10 days of culture. To assess the in vivo incorporation of cells, undifferentiated iPSCs or day 10 iPSC-PODs, were labeled with either carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) or Qdot nanocrystals (Q705). Thereafter, 1 × 105 differentiated iPSC-PODs were injected directly into the kidneys of mouse pups at postnatal day one (P1). Using co-expression analysis of glomerular and podocyte-specific markers, Day 10 differentiated iPSC-PODs that were positive for podocin, were detected following direct kidney injection into newborn mice up to 1 week after transplantation. Undifferentiated iPSC-PODs were not detected at the same timepoint. The transplanted cells were viable and located in the outer nephrogenic zone where they were found to colocalize with, or sit adjacent to, cells positive for glomerular-specific markers including podocin, synaptopodin, and Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1). This study provides proof-of-principle that transplanted iPSC-POD can survive in recipient newborn mouse kidneys due to the immature and immunoprivileged nature of the developing postnatal kidneys.
Recording of Electrically Evoked Neural Activity and Bladder Pressure Responses in Awake Rats Chronically Implanted With a Pelvic Nerve Array
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-12-17)
Bioelectronic medical devices are well established and widely used in the treatment of urological dysfunction. Approved targets include the sacral S3 spinal root and posterior tibial nerve, but an alternate target is the group of pelvic splanchnic nerves, as these contain sacral visceral sensory and autonomic motor pathways that coordinate storage and voiding functions of the bladder. Here, we developed a device suitable for long-term use in an awake rat model to study electrical neuromodulation of the pelvic nerve (homolog of the human pelvic splanchnic nerves). In male Sprague-Dawley rats, custom planar four-electrode arrays were implanted over the distal end of the pelvic nerve, close to the major pelvic ganglion. Electrically evoked compound action potentials (ECAPs) were reliably detected under anesthesia and in chronically implanted, awake rats up to 8 weeks post-surgery. ECAP waveforms showed three peaks, with latencies that suggested electrical stimulation activated several subpopulations of myelinated A-fiber and unmyelinated C-fiber axons. Chronic implantation of the array did not impact on voiding evoked in awake rats by continuous cystometry, where void parameters were comparable to those published in naïve rats. Electrical stimulation with chronically implanted arrays also induced two classes of bladder pressure responses detected by continuous flow cystometry in awake rats: voiding contractions and non-voiding contractions. No evidence of tissue pathology produced by chronically implanted arrays was detected by immunohistochemical visualization of markers for neuronal injury or noxious spinal cord activation. These results demonstrate a rat pelvic nerve electrode array that can be used for preclinical development of closed loop neuromodulation devices targeting the pelvic nerve as a therapy for neuro-urological dysfunction.
Comparing fNIRS signal qualities between approaches with and without short channels
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-12-23)
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive technique used to measure changes in oxygenated (HbO) and deoxygenated (HbR) hemoglobin, related to neuronal activity. fNIRS signals are contaminated by the systemic responses in the extracerebral tissue (superficial layer) of the head, as fNIRS uses a back-reflection measurement. Using shorter channels that are only sensitive to responses in the extracerebral tissue but not in the deeper layers where target neuronal activity occurs has been a 'gold standard' to reduce the systemic responses in the fNIRS data from adults. When shorter channels are not available or feasible for implementation, an alternative, i.e., anti-correlation (Anti-Corr) method has been adopted. To date, there has not been a study that directly assesses the outcomes from the two approaches. In this study, we compared the Anti-Corr method with the 'gold standard' in reducing systemic responses to improve fNIRS neural signal qualities. We used eight short channels (8-mm) in a group of adults, and conducted a principal component analysis (PCA) to extract two components that contributed the most to responses in the 8 short channels, which were assumed to contain the global components in the extracerebral tissue. We then used a general linear model (GLM), with and without including event-related regressors, to regress out the 2 principal components from regular fNIRS channels (30 mm), i.e., two GLM-PCA methods. Our results found that, the two GLM-PCA methods showed similar performance, both GLM-PCA methods and the Anti-Corr method improved fNIRS signal qualities, and the two GLM-PCA methods had better performance than the Anti-Corr method.
Oculomotor Responses to Dynamic Stimuli in a 44-Channel Suprachoroidal Retinal Prosthesis
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2020-12-01)
Purpose: To investigate oculomotor behavior in response to dynamic stimuli in retinal implant recipients. Methods: Three suprachoroidal retinal implant recipients performed a four-alternative forced-choice motion discrimination task over six sessions longitudinally. Stimuli were a single white bar ("moving bar") or a series of white bars ("moving grating") sweeping left, right, up, or down across a 42″ monitor. Performance was compared with normal video processing and scrambled video processing (randomized image-to-electrode mapping to disrupt spatiotemporal structure). Eye and head movement was monitored throughout the task. Results: Two subjects had diminished performance with scrambling, suggesting retinotopic discrimination was used in the normal condition and made smooth pursuit eye movements congruent to the moving bar stimulus direction. These two subjects also made stimulus-related eye movements resembling optokinetic reflex (OKR) for moving grating stimuli, but the movement was incongruent with stimulus direction. The third subject was less adept at the task, appeared primarily reliant on head position cues (head movements were congruent to stimulus direction), and did not exhibit retinotopic discrimination and associated eye movements. Conclusions: Our observation of smooth pursuit indicates residual functionality of cortical direction-selective circuits and implies a more naturalistic perception of motion than expected. A distorted OKR implies improper functionality of retinal direction-selective circuits, possibly due to retinal remodeling or the non-selective nature of the electrical stimulation. Translational Relevance: Retinal implant users can make naturalistic eye movements in response to moving stimuli, highlighting the potential for eye tracker feedback to improve perceptual localization and image stabilization in camera-based visual prostheses.
Interpreting the Effect of Stimulus Parameters on the Electrically Evoked Compound Action Potential and on Neural Health Estimates.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-02)
Variations in the condition of the neural population along the length of the cochlea can degrade the spectral and temporal representation of sounds conveyed by CIs, thereby limiting speech perception. One measurement that has been proposed as an estimate of neural survival (the number of remaining functional neurons) or neural health (the health of those remaining neurons) is the effect of stimulation parameters, such as the interphase gap (IPG), on the amplitude growth function (AGF) of the electrically evoked compound action potential (ECAP). The extent to which such measures reflect neural factors, rather than non-neural factors (e.g. electrode orientation, electrode-modiolus distance, and impedance), depends crucially upon how the AGF data are analysed. However, there is currently no consensus in the literature for the correct method to interpret changes in the ECAP AGF due to changes in stimulation parameters. We present a simple theoretical model for the effect of IPG on ECAP AGFs, along with a re-analysis of both animal and human data that measured the IPG effect. Both the theoretical model and the re-analysis of the animal data suggest that the IPG effect on ECAP AGF slope (IPG slope effect), measured using either a linear or logarithmic input-output scale, does not successfully control for the effects of non-neural factors. Both the model and the data suggest that the appropriate method to estimate neural health is by measuring the IPG offset effect, defined as the dB offset between the linear portions of ECAP AGFs for two stimuli differing only in IPG.
Objective measurement of tinnitus using functional near-infrared spectroscopy and machine learning
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-11-18)
Chronic tinnitus is a debilitating condition which affects 10-20% of adults and can severely impact their quality of life. Currently there is no objective measure of tinnitus that can be used clinically. Clinical assessment of the condition uses subjective feedback from individuals which is not always reliable. We investigated the sensitivity of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to differentiate individuals with and without tinnitus and to identify fNIRS features associated with subjective ratings of tinnitus severity. We recorded fNIRS signals in the resting state and in response to auditory or visual stimuli from 25 individuals with chronic tinnitus and 21 controls matched for age and hearing loss. Severity of tinnitus was rated using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and subjective ratings of tinnitus loudness and annoyance were measured on a visual analogue scale. Following statistical group comparisons, machine learning methods including feature extraction and classification were applied to the fNIRS features to classify patients with tinnitus and controls and differentiate tinnitus at different severity levels. Resting state measures of connectivity between temporal regions and frontal and occipital regions were significantly higher in patients with tinnitus compared to controls. In the tinnitus group, temporal-occipital connectivity showed a significant increase with subject ratings of loudness. Also in this group, both visual and auditory evoked responses were significantly reduced in the visual and auditory regions of interest respectively. Naïve Bayes classifiers were able to classify patients with tinnitus from controls with an accuracy of 78.3%. An accuracy of 87.32% was achieved using Neural Networks to differentiate patients with slight/ mild versus moderate/ severe tinnitus. Our findings show the feasibility of using fNIRS and machine learning to develop an objective measure of tinnitus. Such a measure would greatly benefit clinicians and patients by providing a tool to objectively assess new treatments and patients' treatment progress.
Auditory Stream Segregation and Selective Attention for Cochlear Implant Listeners: Evidence From Behavioral Measures and Event-Related Potentials
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2018-08-21)
The role of the spatial separation between the stimulating electrodes (electrode separation) in sequential stream segregation was explored in cochlear implant (CI) listeners using a deviant detection task. Twelve CI listeners were instructed to attend to a series of target sounds in the presence of interleaved distractor sounds. A deviant was randomly introduced in the target stream either at the beginning, middle or end of each trial. The listeners were asked to detect sequences that contained a deviant and to report its location within the trial. The perceptual segregation of the streams should, therefore, improve deviant detection performance. The electrode range for the distractor sounds was varied, resulting in different amounts of overlap between the target and the distractor streams. For the largest electrode separation condition, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded under active and passive listening conditions. The listeners were asked to perform the behavioral task for the active listening condition and encouraged to watch a muted movie for the passive listening condition. Deviant detection performance improved with increasing electrode separation between the streams, suggesting that larger electrode differences facilitate the segregation of the streams. Deviant detection performance was best for deviants happening late in the sequence, indicating that a segregated percept builds up over time. The analysis of the ERP waveforms revealed that auditory selective attention modulates the ERP responses in CI listeners. Specifically, the responses to the target stream were, overall, larger in the active relative to the passive listening condition. Conversely, the ERP responses to the distractor stream were not affected by selective attention. However, no significant correlation was observed between the behavioral performance and the amount of attentional modulation. Overall, the findings from the present study suggest that CI listeners can use electrode separation to perceptually group sequential sounds. Moreover, selective attention can be deployed on the resulting auditory objects, as reflected by the attentional modulation of the ERPs at the group level.