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Skilled hindlimb reaching task in rats as a platform for a brain-machine interface to restore motor function after complete spinal cord injury

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4 Author(s)
Knudsen, E.B. ; Sch. of Biomed. Eng., Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA, USA ; Moxon, K.A. ; Sturgis, E.B. ; Shumsky, J.S.

Behavioral tasks utilized as models for decoding neural activity for use in brain-machine interfaces are constrained primarily to forelimb tasks or locomotion. We present here our methodology for training adult rats in a novel skilled hindlimb `reaching' task in which the animal is trained to make different types of hindlimb movements. 6 adult Long-Evans rats were trained to make variable duration (<;1 or >;1.5 s) hindlimb presses cued by a spatially-independent visual cue. 5 of 6 animals (83.3%) were able to learn the task to proficiency. The training paradigm introduced here serves as a platform to investigate the ability of the animal to transfer motor cortical activity in response to a cue originally generated during normal movments, to a novel context in the absecense of movement and ultimately after complete mid-thoracic spinal cord transection. We also present preliminary results of offline classification of neural activity during trial performance for two trained animals.

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC, 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE

Date of Conference:

Aug. 30 2011-Sept. 3 2011