Generating artificial sensations with spinal cord stimulation in primates and rodents.
For patients who have lost sensory function due to a neurological injury such as spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, or amputation, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may provide a mechanism for restoring somatic sensations via an intuitive, non-visual pathway. Inspired by this vision, here we trained rhesus monkeys and rats to detect and discriminate patterns of epidural SCS. Thereafter, we constructed psychometric curves describing the relationship between different SCS parameters and the animal's ability to detect SCS and/or changes in its characteristics. We found that the stimulus detection threshold decreased with higher frequency, longer pulse-width, and increasing duration of SCS. Moreover, we found that monkeys were able to discriminate temporally- and spatially-varying patterns (i.e. variations in frequency and location) of SCS delivered through multiple electrodes. Additionally, sensory discrimination of SCS-induced sensations in rats obeyed Weber's law of just-noticeable differences. These findings suggest that by varying SCS intensity, temporal pattern, and location different sensory experiences can be evoked. As such, we posit that SCS can provide intuitive sensory feedback in neuroprosthetic devices.
Yadav, AP; Li, S; Krucoff, MO; Lebedev, MA; Abd-El-Barr, MM; Nicolelis, MAL
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