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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00278

Systems analysis of human visuo-myoelectric control facilitated by anodal transcranial direct current stimulation in healthy humans

 Vinh Kha1,  Aguida S. Foerster2, Susan Bennett3, Michael Nitsche2,  Filip Stefanovic4 and  Anirban Dutta1*
  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, United States
  • 2Psychology and neurosciences, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (LG), Germany
  • 3Department of Rehabilitation Science, University at Buffalo, United States
  • 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, United States

Induction of neuroplasticity by transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied to the primary motor cortex facilitates motor learning of the upper extremities in healthy humans. The impact of tDCS on lower limb functions has not been studied extensively so far. In this study, we applied a system identification approach to investigate the impact of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation of the leg area of the motor cortex via the human visuo-myoelectric controller. The visuo-myoelectric reaching task (VMT) involves ballistic muscle contraction after a visual cue. We applied a black box approach using a linear ARX (Auto-regressive with eXogenous input) model for a visuomotor myoelectric reaching task. We found that a 20th order finite impulse response (FIR) model captured the TARGET (single input) – CURSOR (single output) dynamics during a VMT. The 20th order FIR model was investigated based on gain/phase margin analysis, which showed a significant (p<0.01) effect of anodal tDCS on the gain margin of the VMT system. Also, response latency and the corticomuscular coherence (CMC) time delay were affected (p<0.05) by anodal tDCS when compared to sham tDCS. Furthermore, grey box simulation results from a Simplified Spinal-Like Controller (SSLC) model demonstrated that the input-output function for motor evoked potentials played an essential role in increasing muscle activation levels and response time improvement post-tDCS when compared to pre-tDCS baseline performance. This computational approach can be used to simulate the behavior of the neuromuscular controller during VMT to elucidate the effects of adjuvant treatment with tDCS.

Keywords: non-invasive brain stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, visuomotor task, Response Time, myoelectric control

Received: 06 Jan 2018; Accepted: 10 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Ioan Opris, University of Miami, United States

Reviewed by:

Filippo Brighina, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy
Shingo Shimoda, RIKEN Center of Brain science (CBS), Japan  

Copyright: © 2018 Kha, Foerster, Bennett, Nitsche, Stefanovic and Dutta. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Anirban Dutta, University at Buffalo, Department of Biomedical Engineering, 214 Bonner Hall, Buffalo, 14226, New York, United States, adutta@case.edu