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Online optimization of multisite electrical spinal cord stimulation increases consistency of stepping and limb control in spinal rats


E. Martin Moraud, Nikolaus Wenger, J. DiGiovanna, Pavel Musienko, M. Morari, Gregoire Courtine, S. Micera

Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Poster (Session: Plasticity and Repair)

Epidural electrical stimulation of lumbosacral circuits is capable of restoring coordinated locomotion in rats with complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Most recent experimental setups employed multiple electrodes implanted on the dorsal aspect of lumbosacral segments to deliver constant (tonic) electrical stimulations that were manually tuned based on empirical observations. Each electrode and stimulation parameter modulates specific aspects of gait. Consequently, manual tuning of multiple electrodes is time-consuming and necessarily sub-optimal to facilitate locomotion. Here, we investigated the capacity to optimize multisite epidural stimulation online with the aim to promote more natural, consistent stepping patterns in rats with complete SCI. We designed a real-time control system that could adapt the frequency of stimulation for each electrode independently. The controller exploited an input-output model that incorporated bilateral biomechanical states. Compared to uncontrolled conditions, real-time control of multisite stimulations promoted highly consistent foot trajectories that resembled those underlying locomotion of intact rats. The controller converged to optimal stimulation parameters within less than 20 gait-cycles. These results pave the way towards the design of fully operative spinal neuroprosthetic systems to promote near-optimal locomotor states during training, and thus improve use-dependent plasticity of neuronal systems and motor recovery with neurorehabilitation after SCI.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Misc { MorEtal:2012:IFA_4236,
    author={E. Martin Moraud and Nikolaus Wenger and J. DiGiovanna and Pavel
	  Musienko and M. Morari and Gregoire Courtine and S. Micera},
    title={{Online optimization of multisite electrical spinal cord
	  stimulation increases consistency of stepping and limb
	  control in spinal rats}},
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