Computational evaluation of methods for measuring the spatial extent of neural activation.
Knowing of the spatial extent of neural activation around extracellular stimulating electrodes is necessary to ensure that only the desired neurons are activated or to determine which neurons are responsible for an observed response. Various approaches have been used to estimate the current-distance relationship and thereby the spatial extent of activation resulting from extracellular stimulation. However, these approaches all require underlying assumptions and simplifications, and since the actual extent of activation cannot be directly measured, the impact of deviations from these assumptions cannot be determined. We implemented a computer-based model of excitation of a population of nerve fibers and used the model to evaluate a range of approaches proposed for measuring the spatial extent of neural activation. The estimates with each method were compared with measurements of the true spatial extent of activation that were accessible in the simulations to quantify the accuracy of the estimates and to determine the dependence of accuracy on measurement parameters (interelectrode distance, stimulation amplitude, noise). A newly proposed method, based on the refractory interaction technique, provided the most accurate and most robust estimates of the spatial extent of neural activation.
Mahnam, A; Hashemi, SMR; Grill, WM
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