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Recently a hybrid model based on the finite element method and on a compartmental biophysical representation of peripheral nerve fibers and intraneural electrodes was developed founded on experimental physiological and histological data. The model appeared to be robust when dealing with uncertainties in parameter selection. However, an experimental validation of the findings provided by the model is required to fully characterize the potential of this approach. The recruitment properties of selective nerve stimulation using transverse intrafascicular multichannel electrodes (TIME) were investigated in this work in experiments with rats and were compared to model predictions. Animal experiments were performed using the same stimulation protocol as in the computer simulations in order to rigorously validate the model predictions and understand its limitations. Two different selectivity indexes were used, and new indexes for measuring electrode performance are proposed. The model predictions are in decent agreement with experimental results both in terms of recruitment curves and selectivity values. Results show that these models can be used for extensive studies targeting electrode shape design, active sites shape, and multipolar stimulation paradigms. From a neurophysiological point of view, the topographic organization of the rat sciatic nerve, on which the model was based, has been confirmed.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:20 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: May 2012