Effects of Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation on Upper Extremity Proprioceptive Function

Andrew Levitsky, Joshua Klein, Panagiotis Artemiadis, Christopher A. Buneo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve has been shown to enhance cortical plasticity and may benefit upper extremity rehabilitation following stroke. As an initial step towards assessing the potential of other craniocervical nerves as neuromodulation targets during rehabilitation, we explored the ability of non-invasive stimulation of cervical spine afferents, paired with a proprioceptive discrimination task, to improve sensory function in neurologically intact human subjects. On each trial, subjects' arms were moved by a robot from a test position, along a random path, to a judgment position located 1-4 cm away. Subjects responded 'same' if the judgment position was the same as the test or 'different' if it was not. These responses were used to compute proprioceptive sensitivity and bias. Three groups of 20 subjects received transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation to the C3/C4 cervical spine at one of three frequencies (30 Hz, 300 Hz, 3 kHz) for 10 minutes prior to task performance. A fourth group served as a sham. We found a statistically significant interaction between stimulation frequency and displacement distance on proprioceptive sensitivity. In summary, stimulation of cervical spine afferents may enhance arm proprioceptive function, though in unimpaired subjects these gains depend on both stimulation frequency and discrimination distance.Clinical Relevance - This study provides preliminary data on the potential for non-invasive stimulation of cervical spine afferents to enhance recovery of function following stroke and other neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication42nd Annual International Conferences of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
Subtitle of host publicationEnabling Innovative Technologies for Global Healthcare, EMBC 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages3577-3580
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781728119908
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Event42nd Annual International Conferences of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2020 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jul 20 2020Jul 24 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS
Volume2020-July
ISSN (Print)1557-170X

Conference

Conference42nd Annual International Conferences of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2020
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityMontreal
Period7/20/207/24/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics

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