AI seminar: Cortical Plasticity - A Model of Somatosensory Cortex

Date: September 17, 2004 (Friday) at 15:00 to 17:00

By: Magnus Johnsson, LUCS
After nerve injuries, e.g. following a re-implantation of an accidentally cut hand, nerve fibres grows together again but will be misconnected. This implies an incorrect mapping of the hand in somatosensory cortex. However, the brain is plastic and thus a natural question is if there is a way to stimulate the hand of such a patient so that the recovery will be optimal. To come up with suggestions on this, a computational model of the dorsal column-medial leminiscal system was implemented. Different versions of this model were used to simulate the reorganization of somatosensory cortex due to misconnected nerve fibres. A number of tactile training methods were simulated and their capability to reorganize cortex was measured. The simulation results brought about the following recommendation on how to stimulate a patientŐs hand: Randomly select a small set of points on the palm and stimulate them shortly, and then select some new points. This recommendation is due to that such training methods worked well in all versions of the model. When the nerve injury is only partial, perhaps so-called cortical induction would also be a good choice.

Last modified Dec 9, 2011 12:59 pm