Journal of Neural Engineering (J Neural Eng )

Publisher: Institute of Physics (Great Britain)

Description

Journal of Neural Engineering is a new forum for the interdisciplinary field of neural engineering, where neuroscientists, neurobiologists and engineers can publish their work in one periodical that bridges the gap between neuroscience and engineering. Articles will cover the field of neural engineering at the molecular, cellular and systems levels.

  • Impact factor
    3.28
  • 5-year impact
    4.05
  • Cited half-life
    3.80
  • Immediacy index
    0.67
  • Eigenfactor
    0.01
  • Article influence
    1.25
  • Website
    Journal of Neural Engineering website
  • Other titles
    Journal of neural engineering (Online), Neural engineering, JNE
  • ISSN
    1741-2552
  • OCLC
    54314172
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective. No cure currently exists for photoreceptor degenerative diseases, which cause partial or total blindness in millions of people worldwide. Electrical retinal prostheses have been developed by several groups with the goal of restoring vision lost to these diseases, but electrical stimulation has limitations. It excites both somas and axons, activating retinal pathways nonphysiologically, and limits spatial resolution because of current spread. Chemical stimulation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) using the neurotransmitter glutamate has been suggested as an alternative to electrical stimulation with some significant advantages. However, sufficient scientific data to support developing a chemical-based retinal prosthesis is lacking. The goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility of a neurotransmitter-based retinal prosthesis and determine therapeutic stimulation parameters. Approach. We injected controlled amounts of glutamate into rat retinas from the epiretinal side ex vivo via micropipettes using a pressure injection system and recorded RGC responses with a multielectrode array. Responsive units were identified using a spike rate threshold of 3 Hz. Main results. We recorded both somal and axonal units and demonstrated successful glutamatergic stimulation across different RGC subtypes. Analyses show that exogenous glutamate acts on RGC synapses similar to endogenous glutamate and, unlike electrical prostheses, stimulates only RGC somata. The spatial spread of glutamate stimulation was &$\sim 290$; μm from the injection site, comparable to current electrical prostheses. Further, the glutamate injections produced spatially differential responses in OFF, ON, and ON–OFF RGC subtypes, suggesting that differential stimulation of the OFF and ON systems may be possible. A temporal resolution of 3.2 Hz was obtained, which is a rate suitable for spatial vision. Significance. We provide strong support for the feasibility of an epiretinal neurotransmitter-based retinal prosthesis. Our findings suggest that chemical stimulation of RGCs is a viable alternative to electrical stimulation and could offer distinct advantages such as the selective stimulation of RGC somata.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 02/2015; 12(1).
  • Journal of Neural Engineering 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Retinal prosthetic devices aim to restore sight in visually impaired people by means of electrical stimulation of surviving retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). This modelling study aims to demonstrate that RGC inhibition caused by high-intensity cathodic pulses greatly influences their responses to epiretinal electrical stimulation and to investigate the impact of this inhibition on spatial activation profiles as well as their implications for retinal prosthetic device design. Another aim is to take advantage of this inhibition to reduce axonal activation in the nerve fibre layer. Approach. A three-dimensional finite-element model of epiretinal electrical stimulation was utilized to obtain RGC activation and inhibition threshold profiles for a range of parameters. Main results. RGC activation and inhibition thresholds were highly dependent on cell and stimulus parameters. Activation thresholds were 1.5, 3.4 and 11.3 μA for monopolar electrodes with 5, 20 and 50 μm radii, respectively. Inhibition to activation threshold ratios were mostly within the range 2-10. Inhibition significantly altered spatial patterns of RGC activation. With concentric electrodes and appropriately high levels of stimulus amplitudes, activation of passing axons was greatly reduced. Significance. RGC inhibition significantly impacts their spatial activation profiles, and therefore it most likely influences patterns of perceived phosphenes induced by retinal prosthetic devices. Thus this inhibition should be taken into account in future studies concerning retinal prosthesis development. It might be possible to utilize this inhibitory effect to bypass activation of passing axons and selectively stimulate RGCs near their somas and dendrites to achieve more localized phosphenes.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 11/2014; 12.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. The conductive nature of the fluids and tissues of the cochlea can lead to broad activation of spiral ganglion neurons using contemporary cochlear implant stimulation configurations such as monopolar (MP) stimulation. The relatively poor spatial selectivity is thought to limit implant performance, particularly in noisy environments. Several current focusing techniques have been proposed to reduce the spread of activation with the aim towards achieving improved clinical performance. Approach. The present research evaluated the efficacy of focused multipolar (FMP) stimulation, a relatively new focusing technique in the cochlea, and compared its efficacy to both MP stimulation and tripolar (TP) stimulation. The spread of neural activity across the inferior colliculus (IC), measured by recording the spatial tuning curve, was used as a measure of spatial selectivity. Adult cats (n=6) were acutely deafened and implanted with an intracochlear electrode array before multi-unit responses were recorded across the cochleotopic gradient of the contralateral IC. Recordings were made in response to acoustic and electrical stimulation using the MP, TP and FMP configurations. Main results. FMP and TP stimulation resulted in greater spatial selectivity than MP stimulation. However, thresholds were significantly higher (p < 0.001) for FMP and TP stimulation compared to MP stimulation. There were no differences found in spatial selectivity and threshold between FMP and TP stimulation. Significance. The greater spatial selectivity of FMP and TP stimulation would be expected to result in improved clinical performance. However, further research will be required to demonstrate the efficacy of these modes of stimulation after longer durations of deafness.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. To date, the majority of Brain–Machine Interfaces have been used to perform simple tasks with sequences of individual targets in otherwise blank environments. In this study we developed a more practical and clinically relevant task that approximated modern computers and graphical user interfaces (GUIs). This task could be problematic given the known sensitivity of areas typically used for BMIs to visual stimuli, eye movements, decision-making, and attentional control. Consequently, we sought to assess the effect of a complex, GUI-like task on the quality of neural decoding. Approach. A male rhesus macaque monkey was implanted with two 96-channel electrode arrays in area 5d of the superior parietal lobule. The animal was trained to perform a GUI-like 'Face in a Crowd' task on a computer screen that required selecting one cued, icon-like, face image from a group of alternatives (the 'Crowd') using a neurally controlled cursor. We assessed whether the crowd affected decodes of intended cursor movements by comparing it to a 'Crowd Off' condition in which only the matching target appeared without alternatives. We also examined if training a neural decoder with the Crowd On rather than Off had any effect on subsequent decode quality. Main results. Despite the additional demands of working with the Crowd On, the animal was able to robustly perform the task under Brain Control. The presence of the crowd did not itself affect decode quality. Training the decoder with the Crowd On relative to Off had no negative influence on subsequent decoding performance. Additionally, the subject was able to gaze around freely without influencing cursor position. Significance. Our results demonstrate that area 5d recordings can be used for decoding in a complex, GUI-like task with free gaze. Thus, this area is a promising source of signals for neural prosthetics that utilize computing devices with GUI interfaces, e.g. personal computers, mobile devices, and tablet computers.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 11/2014; 11(6):066014.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Short infrared (IR) laser pulses have been used to stimulate action potentials in neurons both in vivo and in vitro. However, the mechanism(s) underlying this phenomenon has remained elusive. In vitro studies have found that pulsed IR exposure generates a nearly instant change in capacitance in the plasma membrane, characterized by inward rectification, a common feature in pore-forming exposures, such as electrical pulses and acoustic shock waves. Based on this similarity, we hypothesize that the mechanism of IR stimulation is the formation of short-lived nanopores in the plasma membrane. These transient, small-diameter pores allow the influx of extracellular ions that lead to action potential generation, possibly through activation of secondary messenger pathways or depolarization of the cell membrane resulting in activation of voltage-gated ion channels. Approach. A variety of fluorescent markers are used to observe the cell response to IR stimulation to monitor for effects indicative of nanoporation in other modalities. Main results. We observe rapid, transient rises in intracellular Ca2+, influx of YO-PRO-1 and propidium iodide into the cell signifying membrane permeabilization, cellular blebbing and swelling, and activation of the intracellular phosphoinositides lipid signaling pathway. Significance. This conclusion better explains the experimental observations and limitations of IR-induced neurological stimulation and represents a distinct theoretical shift in the understanding of the mechanism of IR-induced stimulation.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 10/2014; 11(6):066006.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. The inferior colliculus (IC) is the primary processing center of auditory information in the midbrain and is one site of tinnitus-related activity. One potential option for suppressing the tinnitus percept is through deep brain stimulation via the auditory midbrain implant (AMI), which is designed for hearing restoration and is already being implanted in deaf patients who also have tinnitus. However, to assess the feasibility of AMI stimulation for tinnitus treatment we first need to characterize the functional connectivity within the IC. Previous studies have suggested modulatory projections from the dorsal cortex of the IC (ICD) to the central nucleus of the IC (ICC), though the functional properties of these projections need to be determined. Approach. In this study, we investigated the effects of electrical stimulation of the ICD on acoustic-driven activity within the ICC in ketamine-anesthetized guinea pigs. Main Results. We observed ICD stimulation induces both suppressive and facilitatory changes across ICC that can occur immediately during stimulation and remain after stimulation. Additionally, ICD stimulation paired with broadband noise stimulation at a specific delay can induce greater suppressive than facilitatory effects, especially when stimulating in more rostral and medial ICD locations. Significance. These findings demonstrate that ICD stimulation can induce specific types of plastic changes in ICC activity, which may be relevant for treating tinnitus. By using the AMI with electrode sites positioned with the ICD and the ICC, the modulatory effects of ICD stimulation can be tested directly in tinnitus patients.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 10/2014; 11(6):066001.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Neural prostheses, or brain–machine interfaces, aim to restore efficient communication and movement ability to those suffering from paralysis. A major challenge these systems face is robust performance, particularly with aging signal sources. The aim in this study was to develop a neural prosthesis that could sustain high performance in spite of signal instability while still minimizing retraining time. Approach. We trained two rhesus macaques implanted with intracortical microelectrode arrays 1–4 years prior to this study to acquire targets with a neurally-controlled cursor. We measured their performance via achieved bitrate (bits per second, bps). This task was repeated over contiguous days to evaluate the sustained performance across time. Main results. We found that in the monkey with a younger (i.e., two year old) implant and better signal quality, a fixed decoder could sustain performance for a month at a rate of 4 bps, the highest achieved communication rate reported to date. This fixed decoder was evaluated across 22 months and experienced a performance decline at a rate of 0.24 bps yr-1. In the monkey with the older (i.e., 3.5 year old) implant and poorer signal quality, a fixed decoder could not sustain performance for more than a few days. Nevertheless, performance in this monkey was maintained for two weeks without requiring additional online retraining time by utilizing prior days' experimental data. Upon analysis of the changes in channel tuning, we found that this stability appeared partially attributable to the cancelling-out of neural tuning fluctuations when projected to two-dimensional cursor movements. Significance. The findings in this study (1) document the highest-performing communication neural prosthesis in monkeys, (2) confirm and extend prior reports of the stability of fixed decoders, and (3) demonstrate a protocol for system stability under conditions where fixed decoders would otherwise fail. These improvements to decoder stability are important for minimizing training time and should make neural prostheses more practical to use.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 10/2014; 11(6):066003.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of electromyography (EMG) data, in combination with a diverse array of mechanical sensors, to locomotion mode intent recognition in transfemoral amputees using powered prostheses. Additionally, we determined the effect of adding time history information using a dynamic Bayesian network (DBN) for both the mechanical and EMG sensors. Approach. EMG signals from the residual limbs of amputees have been proposed to enhance pattern recognition‐based intent recognition systems for powered lower limb prostheses, but mechanical sensors on the prosthesis—such as inertial measurement units, position and velocity sensors, and load cells—may be just as useful. EMG and mechanical sensor data were collected from 8 transfemoral amputees using a powered knee/ankle prosthesis over basic locomotion modes such as walking, slopes and stairs. An offline study was conducted to determine the benefit of different sensor sets for predicting intent. Main results. EMG information was not as accurate alone as mechanical sensor information (p < 0.05) for any classification strategy. However, EMG in combination with the mechanical sensor data did significantly reduce intent recognition errors (p < 0.05) both for transitions between locomotion modes and steady-state locomotion. The sensor time history (DBN) classifier significantly reduced error rates compared to a linear discriminant classifier for steady-state steps, without increasing the transitional error, for both EMG and mechanical sensors. Combining EMG and mechanical sensor data with sensor time history reduced the average transitional error from 18.4% to 12.2% and the average steady-state error from 3.8% to 1.0% when classifying level-ground walking, ramps, and stairs in eight transfemoral amputee subjects. Significance. These results suggest that a neural interface in combination with time history methods for locomotion mode classification can enhance intent recognition performance; this strategy should be considered for future real-time experiments.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 09/2014; 11(5):056021.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Stimulation of muscle for research or clinical interventions is often superimposed on ongoing physiological activity without a quantitative understanding of the impact of the stimulation on the net muscle activity and the physiological response. Experimental studies show that total force during stimulation is less than the sum of the isolated voluntary and stimulated forces, but the occlusion mechanism is not understood. Approach. We develop a model of efferent motor activity elicited by superimposing stimulation during a physiologically activated contraction. The model combines action potential interactions due to collision block, source resetting, and refractory periods with previously published models of physiological motor unit recruitment, rate modulation, force production, and EMG generation in human first dorsal interosseous muscle to investigate the mechanisms and effectiveness of stimulation on the net muscle force and EMG. Main results. Stimulation during a physiological contraction demonstrates partial occlusion of force and the neural component of the EMG, due to action potential interactions in motor units activated by both sources. Depending on neural and stimulation firing rates as well as on force–frequency properties, individual motor unit forces can be greater, smaller, or unchanged by the stimulation. In contrast, voluntary motor unit EMG potentials in simultaneously stimulated motor units show progressive occlusion with increasing stimulus rate. The simulations predict that occlusion would be decreased by a reverse stimulation recruitment order. Significance. The results are consistent with and provide a mechanistic interpretation of previously published experimental evidence of force occlusion. The models also predict two effects that have not been reported previously—voluntary EMG occlusion and the advantages of a proximal stimulation site. This study provides a basis for the rational design of both future experiments and clinical neuroprosthetic interventions involving either motor or sensory stimulation.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 09/2014; 11(5):056022.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Present day cortical brain–machine interfaces (BMIs) have made impressive advances using decoded brain signals to control extracorporeal devices. Although BMIs are used in a closed-loop fashion, sensory feedback typically is visual only. However medical case studies have shown that the loss of somesthesis in a limb greatly reduces the agility of the limb even when visual feedback is available. Approach. To overcome this limitation, this study tested a closed-loop BMI that utilizes intracortical microstimulation to provide 'tactile' sensation to a non-human primate. Main result. Using stimulation electrodes in Brodmann area 1 of somatosensory cortex (BA1) and recording electrodes in the anterior intraparietal area, the parietal reach region and dorsal area 5 (area 5d), it was found that this form of feedback can be used in BMI tasks. Significance. Providing somatosensory feedback has the poyential to greatly improve the performance of cognitive neuroprostheses especially for fine control and object manipulation. Adding stimulation to a BMI system could therefore improve the quality of life for severely paralyzed patients.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 09/2014; 11(5):056024.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: After neurological injuries such as spinal cord injury, voluntary surface electromyogram (EMG) signals recorded from affected muscles are often corrupted by interferences, such as spurious involuntary spikes and background noises produced by physiological and extrinsic/accidental origins, imposing difficulties for signal processing. Conventional methods did not well address the problem caused by interferences. It is difficult to mitigate such interferences using conventional methods. The aim of this study was to develop a subspace-based denoising method to suppress involuntary background spikes contaminating voluntary surface EMG recordings. Approach: The Karhunen–Loeve transform was utilized to decompose a noisy signal into a signal subspace and a noise subspace. An optimal estimate of EMG signal is derived from the signal subspace and the noise power. Specifically, this estimator is capable of making a tradeoff between interference reduction and signal distortion. Since the estimator partially relies on the estimate of noise power, an adaptive method was presented to sequentially track the variation of interference power. The proposed method was evaluated using both semi-synthetic and real surface EMG signals. Main results: The experiments confirmed that the proposed method can effectively suppress interferences while keep the distortion of voluntary EMG signal in a low level. The proposed method can greatly facilitate further signal processing, such as onset detection of voluntary muscle activity. Significance: The proposed method can provide a powerful tool for suppressing background spikes and noise contaminating voluntary surface EMG signals of paretic muscles after neurological injuries, which is of great importance for their multi-purpose applications.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Myoelectric control is filled with potential to significantly change human–robot interaction due to the ability to non-invasively measure human motion intent. However, current control schemes have struggled to achieve the robust performance that is necessary for use in commercial applications. As demands in myoelectric control trend toward simultaneous multifunctional control, multi-muscle coordinations, or synergies, play larger roles in the success of the control scheme. Detecting and refining patterns in muscle activations robust to the high variance and transient changes associated with surface electromyography is essential for efficient, user-friendly control. This article reviews the role of muscle synergies in myoelectric control schemes by dissecting each component of the scheme with respect to associated challenges for achieving robust simultaneous control of myoelectric interfaces. Electromyography recording details, signal feature extraction, pattern recognition and motor learning based control schemes are considered, and future directions are proposed as steps toward fulfilling the potential of myoelectric control in clinically and commercially viable applications.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 09/2014; 11(5):051001.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Laser surface modification of platinum (Pt) electrodes was investigated for use in neuroprosthetics. Surface modification was applied to increase the surface area of the electrode and improve its ability to transfer charge within safe electrochemical stimulation limits. Approach. Electrode arrays were laser micromachined to produce Pt electrodes with smooth surfaces, which were then modified with four laser patterning techniques to produce surface structures which were nanosecond patterned, square profile, triangular profile and roughened on the micron scale through structured laser interference patterning (SLIP). Improvements in charge transfer were shown through electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), cyclic voltammetry (CV) and biphasic stimulation at clinically relevant levels. A new method was investigated and validated which enabled the assessment of in vivo electrochemically safe charge injection limits. Main results. All of the modified surfaces provided electrical advantage over the smooth Pt. The SLIP surface provided the greatest benefit both in vitro and in vivo, and this surface was the only type which had injection limits above the threshold for neural stimulation, at a level shown to produce a response in the feline visual cortex when using an electrode array implanted in the suprachoroidal space of the eye. This surface was found to be stable when stimulated with more than 150 million clinically relevant pulses in physiological saline. Significance. Critical to the assessment of implant devices is accurate determination of safe usage limits in an in vivo environment. Laser patterning, in particular SLIP, is a superior technique for improving the performance of implant electrodes without altering the interfacial electrode chemistry through coating. Future work will require chronic in vivo assessment of these electrode patterns.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 09/2014; 11(5):056017.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Stimulation of peripheral nerves is often superimposed on ongoing motor and sensory activity in the same axons, without a quantitative model of the net action potential train at the axon endpoint. Approach. We develop a model of action potential patterns elicited by superimposing constant frequency axonal stimulation on the action potentials arriving from a physiologically activated neural source. The model includes interactions due to collision block, resetting of the neural impulse generator, and the refractory period of the axon at the point of stimulation. Main results. Both the mean endpoint firing rate and the probability distribution of the action potential firing periods depend strongly on the relative firing rates of the two sources and the intersite conduction time between them. When the stimulus rate exceeds the neural rate, neural action potentials do not reach the endpoint and the rate of endpoint action potentials is the same as the stimulus rate, regardless of the intersite conduction time. However, when the stimulus rate is less than the neural rate, and the intersite conduction time is short, the two rates partially sum. Increases in stimulus rate produce non-monotonic increases in endpoint rate and continuously increasing block of neurally generated action potentials. Rate summation is reduced and more neural action potentials are blocked as the intersite conduction time increases. At long intersite conduction times, the endpoint rate simplifies to being the maximum of either the neural or the stimulus rate. Significance. This study highlights the potential of increasing the endpoint action potential rate and preserving neural information transmission by low rate stimulation with short intersite conduction times. Intersite conduction times can be decreased with proximal stimulation sites for muscles and distal stimulation sites for sensory endings. The model provides a basis for optimizing experiments and designing neuroprosthetic interventions involving motor or sensory stimulation.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 08/2014; 11(5):056016.