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Neural Network Model of Vestibular Nuclei Reaction to Onset of Vestibular Prosthetic Stimulation

DiGiovanna, Jack
Nguyen, T. A. K.
Micera, Silvestro
Published in Frontiers in Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 2016, vol. 4
Abstract The vestibular system incorporates multiple sensory pathways to provide crucial information about head and body motion. Damage to the semicircular canals, the peripheral vestibular organs that sense rotational velocities of the head, can severely degrade the ability to perform activities of daily life. Vestibular prosthetics address this problem by using stimulating electrodes that can trigger primary vestibular afferents to modulate their firing rates, thus encoding head movement. These prostheses have been demonstrated chronically in multiple animal models and acutely tested in short-duration trials within the clinic in humans. However, mainly, due to limited opportunities to fully characterize stimulation parameters, there is a lack of understanding of “optimal” stimulation configurations for humans. Here, we model possible adaptive plasticity in the vestibular pathway. Specifically, this model highlights the influence of adaptation of synaptic strengths and offsets in the vestibular nuclei to compensate for the initial activation of the prosthetic. By changing the synaptic strengths, the model is able to replicate the clinical observation that erroneous eye movements are attenuated within 30 minutes without any change to the prosthetic stimulation rate. Although our model was only built to match this time point, we further examined how it affected subsequent pulse rate modulation (PRM) and pulse amplitude modulation (PAM). PAM was more effective than PRM for nearly all stimulation configurations during these acute tests. Two non-intuitive relationships highlighted by our model explain this performance discrepancy. Specifically, the attenuation of synaptic strengths for afferents stimulated during baseline adaptation and the discontinuity between baseline and residual firing rates both disproportionally boost PAM. Comodulation of pulse rate and amplitude has been experimentally shown to induce both excitatory and inhibitory eye movements even at high baseline stimulation rates. We also modeled comodulation and found synergistic combinations of stimulation parameters to achieve equivalent output to only amplitude modulation. This may be an important strategy to reduce current spread and misalignment. The model outputs reflected observed trends in clinical testing and aspects of existing vestibular prosthetic literature. Importantly, the model provided insight to efficiently explore the stimulation parameter space, which was helpful, given limited available patient time.
Keywords AdaptationPhysiological,Synapses,Electrical Stimulation,vestibular prosthesis,Functional models,Vestibular ocular reflex
PMID: 27148528
Full text
Research group Neuroprothèses sensorielles pour la restitution de l'audition et l'équilibre (268)
Projects FP7: CLONS
(ISO format)
DIGIOVANNA, Jack et al. Neural Network Model of Vestibular Nuclei Reaction to Onset of Vestibular Prosthetic Stimulation. In: Frontiers in Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2016, vol. 4. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:99501

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Deposited on : 2017-11-22

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