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Title: Adversarial Domain Adaptation for Stable Brain-Machine Interfaces
Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIs) have recently emerged as a clinically viable option to restore voluntary movements after paralysis. These devices are based on the ability to extract information about movement intent from neural signals recorded using multi-electrode arrays chronically implanted in the motor cortices of the brain. However, the inherent loss and turnover of recorded neurons requires repeated recalibrations of the interface, which can potentially alter the day-to-day user experience. The resulting need for continued user adaptation interferes with the natural, subconscious use of the BMI. Here, we introduce a new computational approach that decodes movement intent from a low-dimensional latent representation of the neural data. We implement various domain adaptation methods to stabilize the interface over significantly long times. This includes Canonical Correlation Analysis used to align the latent variables across days; this method requires prior point-to-point correspondence of the time series across domains. Alternatively, we match the empirical probability distributions of the latent variables across days through the minimization of their Kullback-Leibler divergence. These two methods provide a significant and comparable improvement in the performance of the interface. However, implementation of an Adversarial Domain Adaptation Network trained to match the empirical probability distribution of the residuals of the reconstructed neural signals outperforms the two methods based on latent variables, while requiring remarkably more » few data points to solve the domain adaptation problem. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1835364
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10194683
Journal Name:
International Conference on Learning Representations
Volume:
7
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Significance: The performance of traditional approaches to decoding movement intent from electromyograms (EMGs) and other biological signals commonly degrade over time. Furthermore, conventional algorithms for training neural network-based decoders may not perform well outside the domain of the state transitions observed during training. The work presented in this paper mitigates both these problems, resulting in an approach that has the potential to substantially he quality of live of people with limb loss. Objective: This paper presents and evaluates the performance of four decoding methods for volitional movement intent from intramuscular EMG signals. Methods: The decoders are trained using dataset aggregation (DAgger) algorithm, in which the training data set is augmented during each training iteration based on the decoded estimates from previous iterations. Four competing decoding methods: polynomial Kalman filters (KFs), multilayer perceptron (MLP) networks, convolution neural networks (CNN), and Long-Short Term Memory (LSTM) networks, were developed. The performance of the four decoding methods was evaluated using EMG data sets recorded from two human volunteers with transradial amputation. Short-term analyses, in which the training and cross-validation data came from the same data set, and long-term analyses training and testing were done in different data sets, were performed. Results: Short-term analyses ofmore »the decoders demonstrated that CNN and MLP decoders performed significantly better than KF and LSTM decoders, showing an improvement of up to 60% in the normalized mean-square decoding error in cross-validation tests. Long-term analysis indicated that the CNN, MLP and LSTM decoders performed significantly better than KF-based decoder at most analyzed cases of temporal separations (0 to 150 days) between the acquisition of the training and testing data sets. Conclusion: The short-term and long-term performance of MLP and CNN-based decoders trained with DAgger, demonstrated their potential to provide more accurate and naturalistic control of prosthetic hands than alternate approaches.« less
  2. Obeid, Iyad Selesnick (Ed.)
    Electroencephalography (EEG) is a popular clinical monitoring tool used for diagnosing brain-related disorders such as epilepsy [1]. As monitoring EEGs in a critical-care setting is an expensive and tedious task, there is a great interest in developing real-time EEG monitoring tools to improve patient care quality and efficiency [2]. However, clinicians require automatic seizure detection tools that provide decisions with at least 75% sensitivity and less than 1 false alarm (FA) per 24 hours [3]. Some commercial tools recently claim to reach such performance levels, including the Olympic Brainz Monitor [4] and Persyst 14 [5]. In this abstract, we describe our efforts to transform a high-performance offline seizure detection system [3] into a low latency real-time or online seizure detection system. An overview of the system is shown in Figure 1. The main difference between an online versus offline system is that an online system should always be causal and has minimum latency which is often defined by domain experts. The offline system, shown in Figure 2, uses two phases of deep learning models with postprocessing [3]. The channel-based long short term memory (LSTM) model (Phase 1 or P1) processes linear frequency cepstral coefficients (LFCC) [6] features from each EEGmore »channel separately. We use the hypotheses generated by the P1 model and create additional features that carry information about the detected events and their confidence. The P2 model uses these additional features and the LFCC features to learn the temporal and spatial aspects of the EEG signals using a hybrid convolutional neural network (CNN) and LSTM model. Finally, Phase 3 aggregates the results from both P1 and P2 before applying a final postprocessing step. The online system implements Phase 1 by taking advantage of the Linux piping mechanism, multithreading techniques, and multi-core processors. To convert Phase 1 into an online system, we divide the system into five major modules: signal preprocessor, feature extractor, event decoder, postprocessor, and visualizer. The system reads 0.1-second frames from each EEG channel and sends them to the feature extractor and the visualizer. The feature extractor generates LFCC features in real time from the streaming EEG signal. Next, the system computes seizure and background probabilities using a channel-based LSTM model and applies a postprocessor to aggregate the detected events across channels. The system then displays the EEG signal and the decisions simultaneously using a visualization module. The online system uses C++, Python, TensorFlow, and PyQtGraph in its implementation. The online system accepts streamed EEG data sampled at 250 Hz as input. The system begins processing the EEG signal by applying a TCP montage [8]. Depending on the type of the montage, the EEG signal can have either 22 or 20 channels. To enable the online operation, we send 0.1-second (25 samples) length frames from each channel of the streamed EEG signal to the feature extractor and the visualizer. Feature extraction is performed sequentially on each channel. The signal preprocessor writes the sample frames into two streams to facilitate these modules. In the first stream, the feature extractor receives the signals using stdin. In parallel, as a second stream, the visualizer shares a user-defined file with the signal preprocessor. This user-defined file holds raw signal information as a buffer for the visualizer. The signal preprocessor writes into the file while the visualizer reads from it. Reading and writing into the same file poses a challenge. The visualizer can start reading while the signal preprocessor is writing into it. To resolve this issue, we utilize a file locking mechanism in the signal preprocessor and visualizer. Each of the processes temporarily locks the file, performs its operation, releases the lock, and tries to obtain the lock after a waiting period. The file locking mechanism ensures that only one process can access the file by prohibiting other processes from reading or writing while one process is modifying the file [9]. The feature extractor uses circular buffers to save 0.3 seconds or 75 samples from each channel for extracting 0.2-second or 50-sample long center-aligned windows. The module generates 8 absolute LFCC features where the zeroth cepstral coefficient is replaced by a temporal domain energy term. For extracting the rest of the features, three pipelines are used. The differential energy feature is calculated in a 0.9-second absolute feature window with a frame size of 0.1 seconds. The difference between the maximum and minimum temporal energy terms is calculated in this range. Then, the first derivative or the delta features are calculated using another 0.9-second window. Finally, the second derivative or delta-delta features are calculated using a 0.3-second window [6]. The differential energy for the delta-delta features is not included. In total, we extract 26 features from the raw sample windows which add 1.1 seconds of delay to the system. We used the Temple University Hospital Seizure Database (TUSZ) v1.2.1 for developing the online system [10]. The statistics for this dataset are shown in Table 1. A channel-based LSTM model was trained using the features derived from the train set using the online feature extractor module. A window-based normalization technique was applied to those features. In the offline model, we scale features by normalizing using the maximum absolute value of a channel [11] before applying a sliding window approach. Since the online system has access to a limited amount of data, we normalize based on the observed window. The model uses the feature vectors with a frame size of 1 second and a window size of 7 seconds. We evaluated the model using the offline P1 postprocessor to determine the efficacy of the delayed features and the window-based normalization technique. As shown by the results of experiments 1 and 4 in Table 2, these changes give us a comparable performance to the offline model. The online event decoder module utilizes this trained model for computing probabilities for the seizure and background classes. These posteriors are then postprocessed to remove spurious detections. The online postprocessor receives and saves 8 seconds of class posteriors in a buffer for further processing. It applies multiple heuristic filters (e.g., probability threshold) to make an overall decision by combining events across the channels. These filters evaluate the average confidence, the duration of a seizure, and the channels where the seizures were observed. The postprocessor delivers the label and confidence to the visualizer. The visualizer starts to display the signal as soon as it gets access to the signal file, as shown in Figure 1 using the “Signal File” and “Visualizer” blocks. Once the visualizer receives the label and confidence for the latest epoch from the postprocessor, it overlays the decision and color codes that epoch. The visualizer uses red for seizure with the label SEIZ and green for the background class with the label BCKG. Once the streaming finishes, the system saves three files: a signal file in which the sample frames are saved in the order they were streamed, a time segmented event (TSE) file with the overall decisions and confidences, and a hypotheses (HYP) file that saves the label and confidence for each epoch. The user can plot the signal and decisions using the signal and HYP files with only the visualizer by enabling appropriate options. For comparing the performance of different stages of development, we used the test set of TUSZ v1.2.1 database. It contains 1015 EEG records of varying duration. The any-overlap performance [12] of the overall system shown in Figure 2 is 40.29% sensitivity with 5.77 FAs per 24 hours. For comparison, the previous state-of-the-art model developed on this database performed at 30.71% sensitivity with 6.77 FAs per 24 hours [3]. The individual performances of the deep learning phases are as follows: Phase 1’s (P1) performance is 39.46% sensitivity and 11.62 FAs per 24 hours, and Phase 2 detects seizures with 41.16% sensitivity and 11.69 FAs per 24 hours. We trained an LSTM model with the delayed features and the window-based normalization technique for developing the online system. Using the offline decoder and postprocessor, the model performed at 36.23% sensitivity with 9.52 FAs per 24 hours. The trained model was then evaluated with the online modules. The current performance of the overall online system is 45.80% sensitivity with 28.14 FAs per 24 hours. Table 2 summarizes the performances of these systems. The performance of the online system deviates from the offline P1 model because the online postprocessor fails to combine the events as the seizure probability fluctuates during an event. The modules in the online system add a total of 11.1 seconds of delay for processing each second of the data, as shown in Figure 3. In practice, we also count the time for loading the model and starting the visualizer block. When we consider these facts, the system consumes 15 seconds to display the first hypothesis. The system detects seizure onsets with an average latency of 15 seconds. Implementing an automatic seizure detection model in real time is not trivial. We used a variety of techniques such as the file locking mechanism, multithreading, circular buffers, real-time event decoding, and signal-decision plotting to realize the system. A video demonstrating the system is available at: https://www.isip.piconepress.com/projects/nsf_pfi_tt/resources/videos/realtime_eeg_analysis/v2.5.1/video_2.5.1.mp4. The final conference submission will include a more detailed analysis of the online performance of each module. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Research reported in this publication was most recently supported by the National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation award number IIP-1827565 and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (PA CURE). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official views of any of these organizations. REFERENCES [1] A. Craik, Y. He, and J. L. Contreras-Vidal, “Deep learning for electroencephalogram (EEG) classification tasks: a review,” J. Neural Eng., vol. 16, no. 3, p. 031001, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1088/1741-2552/ab0ab5. [2] A. C. Bridi, T. Q. Louro, and R. C. L. Da Silva, “Clinical Alarms in intensive care: implications of alarm fatigue for the safety of patients,” Rev. Lat. Am. Enfermagem, vol. 22, no. 6, p. 1034, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1590/0104-1169.3488.2513. [3] M. Golmohammadi, V. Shah, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Deep Learning Approaches for Automatic Seizure Detection from Scalp Electroencephalograms,” in Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology: Emerging Trends in Research and Applications, 1st ed., I. Obeid, I. Selesnick, and J. Picone, Eds. New York, New York, USA: Springer, 2020, pp. 233–274. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-36844-9_8. [4] “CFM Olympic Brainz Monitor.” [Online]. Available: https://newborncare.natus.com/products-services/newborn-care-products/newborn-brain-injury/cfm-olympic-brainz-monitor. [Accessed: 17-Jul-2020]. [5] M. L. Scheuer, S. B. Wilson, A. Antony, G. Ghearing, A. Urban, and A. I. Bagic, “Seizure Detection: Interreader Agreement and Detection Algorithm Assessments Using a Large Dataset,” J. Clin. Neurophysiol., 2020. https://doi.org/10.1097/WNP.0000000000000709. [6] A. Harati, M. Golmohammadi, S. Lopez, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Improved EEG Event Classification Using Differential Energy,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium, 2015, pp. 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1109/SPMB.2015.7405421. [7] V. Shah, C. Campbell, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Improved Spatio-Temporal Modeling in Automated Seizure Detection using Channel-Dependent Posteriors,” Neurocomputing, 2021. [8] W. Tatum, A. Husain, S. Benbadis, and P. Kaplan, Handbook of EEG Interpretation. New York City, New York, USA: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007. [9] D. P. Bovet and C. Marco, Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd ed. O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2005. https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/understanding-the-linux/0596005652/. [10] V. Shah et al., “The Temple University Hospital Seizure Detection Corpus,” Front. Neuroinform., vol. 12, pp. 1–6, 2018. https://doi.org/10.3389/fninf.2018.00083. [11] F. Pedregosa et al., “Scikit-learn: Machine Learning in Python,” J. Mach. Learn. Res., vol. 12, pp. 2825–2830, 2011. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.5555/1953048.2078195. [12] J. Gotman, D. Flanagan, J. Zhang, and B. Rosenblatt, “Automatic seizure detection in the newborn: Methods and initial evaluation,” Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol., vol. 103, no. 3, pp. 356–362, 1997. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0013-4694(97)00003-9.« less
  3. The DeepLearningEpilepsyDetectionChallenge: design, implementation, andtestofanewcrowd-sourced AIchallengeecosystem Isabell Kiral*, Subhrajit Roy*, Todd Mummert*, Alan Braz*, Jason Tsay, Jianbin Tang, Umar Asif, Thomas Schaffter, Eren Mehmet, The IBM Epilepsy Consortium◊ , Joseph Picone, Iyad Obeid, Bruno De Assis Marques, Stefan Maetschke, Rania Khalaf†, Michal Rosen-Zvi† , Gustavo Stolovitzky† , Mahtab Mirmomeni† , Stefan Harrer† * These authors contributed equally to this work † Corresponding authors: rkhalaf@us.ibm.com, rosen@il.ibm.com, gustavo@us.ibm.com, mahtabm@au1.ibm.com, sharrer@au.ibm.com ◊ Members of the IBM Epilepsy Consortium are listed in the Acknowledgements section J. Picone and I. Obeid are with Temple University, USA. T. Schaffter is with Sage Bionetworks, USA. E. Mehmet is with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. All other authors are with IBM Research in USA, Israel and Australia. Introduction This decade has seen an ever-growing number of scientific fields benefitting from the advances in machine learning technology and tooling. More recently, this trend reached the medical domain, with applications reaching from cancer diagnosis [1] to the development of brain-machine-interfaces [2]. While Kaggle has pioneered the crowd-sourcing of machine learning challenges to incentivise data scientists from around the world to advance algorithm and model design, the increasing complexity of problem statements demands of participants to be expert datamore »scientists, deeply knowledgeable in at least one other scientific domain, and competent software engineers with access to large compute resources. People who match this description are few and far between, unfortunately leading to a shrinking pool of possible participants and a loss of experts dedicating their time to solving important problems. Participation is even further restricted in the context of any challenge run on confidential use cases or with sensitive data. Recently, we designed and ran a deep learning challenge to crowd-source the development of an automated labelling system for brain recordings, aiming to advance epilepsy research. A focus of this challenge, run internally in IBM, was the development of a platform that lowers the barrier of entry and therefore mitigates the risk of excluding interested parties from participating. The challenge: enabling wide participation With the goal to run a challenge that mobilises the largest possible pool of participants from IBM (global), we designed a use case around previous work in epileptic seizure prediction [3]. In this “Deep Learning Epilepsy Detection Challenge”, participants were asked to develop an automatic labelling system to reduce the time a clinician would need to diagnose patients with epilepsy. Labelled training and blind validation data for the challenge were generously provided by Temple University Hospital (TUH) [4]. TUH also devised a novel scoring metric for the detection of seizures that was used as basis for algorithm evaluation [5]. In order to provide an experience with a low barrier of entry, we designed a generalisable challenge platform under the following principles: 1. No participant should need to have in-depth knowledge of the specific domain. (i.e. no participant should need to be a neuroscientist or epileptologist.) 2. No participant should need to be an expert data scientist. 3. No participant should need more than basic programming knowledge. (i.e. no participant should need to learn how to process fringe data formats and stream data efficiently.) 4. No participant should need to provide their own computing resources. In addition to the above, our platform should further • guide participants through the entire process from sign-up to model submission, • facilitate collaboration, and • provide instant feedback to the participants through data visualisation and intermediate online leaderboards. The platform The architecture of the platform that was designed and developed is shown in Figure 1. The entire system consists of a number of interacting components. (1) A web portal serves as the entry point to challenge participation, providing challenge information, such as timelines and challenge rules, and scientific background. The portal also facilitated the formation of teams and provided participants with an intermediate leaderboard of submitted results and a final leaderboard at the end of the challenge. (2) IBM Watson Studio [6] is the umbrella term for a number of services offered by IBM. Upon creation of a user account through the web portal, an IBM Watson Studio account was automatically created for each participant that allowed users access to IBM's Data Science Experience (DSX), the analytics engine Watson Machine Learning (WML), and IBM's Cloud Object Storage (COS) [7], all of which will be described in more detail in further sections. (3) The user interface and starter kit were hosted on IBM's Data Science Experience platform (DSX) and formed the main component for designing and testing models during the challenge. DSX allows for real-time collaboration on shared notebooks between team members. A starter kit in the form of a Python notebook, supporting the popular deep learning libraries TensorFLow [8] and PyTorch [9], was provided to all teams to guide them through the challenge process. Upon instantiation, the starter kit loaded necessary python libraries and custom functions for the invisible integration with COS and WML. In dedicated spots in the notebook, participants could write custom pre-processing code, machine learning models, and post-processing algorithms. The starter kit provided instant feedback about participants' custom routines through data visualisations. Using the notebook only, teams were able to run the code on WML, making use of a compute cluster of IBM's resources. The starter kit also enabled submission of the final code to a data storage to which only the challenge team had access. (4) Watson Machine Learning provided access to shared compute resources (GPUs). Code was bundled up automatically in the starter kit and deployed to and run on WML. WML in turn had access to shared storage from which it requested recorded data and to which it stored the participant's code and trained models. (5) IBM's Cloud Object Storage held the data for this challenge. Using the starter kit, participants could investigate their results as well as data samples in order to better design custom algorithms. (6) Utility Functions were loaded into the starter kit at instantiation. This set of functions included code to pre-process data into a more common format, to optimise streaming through the use of the NutsFlow and NutsML libraries [10], and to provide seamless access to the all IBM services used. Not captured in the diagram is the final code evaluation, which was conducted in an automated way as soon as code was submitted though the starter kit, minimising the burden on the challenge organising team. Figure 1: High-level architecture of the challenge platform Measuring success The competitive phase of the "Deep Learning Epilepsy Detection Challenge" ran for 6 months. Twenty-five teams, with a total number of 87 scientists and software engineers from 14 global locations participated. All participants made use of the starter kit we provided and ran algorithms on IBM's infrastructure WML. Seven teams persisted until the end of the challenge and submitted final solutions. The best performing solutions reached seizure detection performances which allow to reduce hundred-fold the time eliptologists need to annotate continuous EEG recordings. Thus, we expect the developed algorithms to aid in the diagnosis of epilepsy by significantly shortening manual labelling time. Detailed results are currently in preparation for publication. Equally important to solving the scientific challenge, however, was to understand whether we managed to encourage participation from non-expert data scientists. Figure 2: Primary occupation as reported by challenge participants Out of the 40 participants for whom we have occupational information, 23 reported Data Science or AI as their main job description, 11 reported being a Software Engineer, and 2 people had expertise in Neuroscience. Figure 2 shows that participants had a variety of specialisations, including some that are in no way related to data science, software engineering, or neuroscience. No participant had deep knowledge and experience in data science, software engineering and neuroscience. Conclusion Given the growing complexity of data science problems and increasing dataset sizes, in order to solve these problems, it is imperative to enable collaboration between people with differences in expertise with a focus on inclusiveness and having a low barrier of entry. We designed, implemented, and tested a challenge platform to address exactly this. Using our platform, we ran a deep-learning challenge for epileptic seizure detection. 87 IBM employees from several business units including but not limited to IBM Research with a variety of skills, including sales and design, participated in this highly technical challenge.« less
  4. Introduction:Current brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) primarily rely on visual feedback. However, visual feedback may not be sufficient for applications such as movement restoration, where somatosensory feedback plays a crucial role. For electrocorticography (ECoG)-based BCIs, somatosensory feedback can be elicited by cortical surface electro-stimulation [1]. However, simultaneous cortical stimulation and recording is challenging due to stimulation artifacts. Depending on the orientation of stimulating electrodes, their distance to the recording site, and the stimulation intensity, these artifacts may overwhelm the neural signals of interest and saturate the recording bioamplifiers, making it impossible to recover the underlying information [2]. To understand how these factors affect artifact propagation, we performed a preliminary characterization of ECoG signals during cortical stimulation.Materials/Methods/ResultsECoG electrodes were implanted in a 39-year old epilepsy patient as shown in Fig. 1. Pairs of adjacent electrodes were stimulated as a part of language cortical mapping. For each stimulating pair, a charge-balanced biphasic square pulse train of current at 50 Hz was delivered for five seconds at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 mA. ECoG signals were recorded at 512 Hz. The signals were then high-pass filtered (≥1.5 Hz, zero phase), and the 5-second stimulation epochs were segmented. Within each epoch, artifact-induced peaks were detectedmore »for each electrode, except the stimulating pair, where signals were clipped due to amplifier saturation. These peaks were phase-locked across electrodes and were 20 ms apart, thus matching the pulse train frequency. The response was characterized by calculating the median peak within the 5-second epochs. Fig. 1 shows a representative response of the right temporal grid (RTG), with the stimulation channel at RTG electrodes 14 and 15. It also shows a hypothetical amplifier saturation contour of an implantable, bi-directional, ECoG-based BCI prototype [2], assuming the supply voltage of 2.2 V and a gain of 66 dB. Finally, we quantify the worstcase scenario by calculating the largest distance between the saturation contour and the midpoint of each stimulating channel.Discussion:Our results indicate that artifact propagation follows a dipole potential distribution with the extent of the saturation region (the interior of the white contour) proportional to the stimulation amplitude. In general, the artifacts propagated farthest when a 10 mA current was applied with the saturation regions extending from 17 to 32 mm away from the midpoint of the dipole. Consistent with the electric dipole model, this maximum spread happened along the direction of the dipole moment. An exception occurred at stimulation channel RTG11-16, for which an additional saturation contour emerged away from the dipole contour (not shown), extending the saturation region to 41 mm. Also, the worst-case scenario was observed at 6 mA stimulation amplitude. This departure could be a sign of a nonlinear, switch-like behavior, wherein additional conduction pathways could become engaged in response to sufficiently high stimulation.Significance:While ECoG stimulation is routinely performed in the clinical setting, quantitative studies of the resulting signals are lacking. Our preliminary study demonstrates that stimulation artifacts largely obey dipole distributions, suggesting that the dipole model could be used to predict artifact propagation. Further studies are necessary to ascertain whether these results hold across other subjects and combinations of stimulation/recording grids. Once completed, these studies will reveal practical design constraints for future implantable bi-directional ECoG-based BCIs. These include parameters such as the distances between and relative orientations of the stimulating and recording electrodes, the choice of the stimulating electrodes, the optimal placement of the reference electrode, and the maximum stimulation amplitude. These findings would also have important implications for the design of custom, low-power bioamplifiers for implantable bi-directional ECoG-based BCIs.References:[1] Hiremath, S. V., et al. "Human perception of electrical stimulation on the surface of somatosensory cortex." PloS one 12.5 (2017): e0176020.[2] Rouse, A. G., et al. "A chronic generalized bi-directional brain-machine interface." Journal of Neural Engineering 8.3 (2011): 036018« less
  5. Abstract Background

    Repetitive action, resistance to environmental change and fine motor disruptions are hallmarks of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and vary considerably from individual to individual. In animal models, conventional behavioral phenotyping captures such fine-scale variations incompletely. Here we observed male and female C57BL/6J mice to methodically catalog adaptive movement over multiple days and examined two rodent models of developmental disorders against this dynamic baseline. We then investigated the behavioral consequences of a cerebellum-specific deletion in Tsc1 protein and a whole-brain knockout in Cntnap2 protein in mice. Both of these mutations are found in clinical conditions and have been associated with ASD.

    Methods

    We used advances in computer vision and deep learning, namely a generalized form of high-dimensional statistical analysis, to develop a framework for characterizing mouse movement on multiple timescales using a single popular behavioral assay, the open-field test. The pipeline takes virtual markers from pose estimation to find behavior clusters and generate wavelet signatures of behavior classes. We measured spatial and temporal habituation to a new environment across minutes and days, different types of self-grooming, locomotion and gait.

    Results

    Both Cntnap2 knockouts and L7-Tsc1 mutants showed forelimb lag during gait. L7-Tsc1 mutants and Cntnap2 knockouts showed complexmore »defects in multi-day adaptation, lacking the tendency of wild-type mice to spend progressively more time in corners of the arena. In L7-Tsc1 mutant mice, failure to adapt took the form of maintained ambling, turning and locomotion, and an overall decrease in grooming. However, adaptation in these traits was similar between wild-type mice and Cntnap2 knockouts. L7-Tsc1 mutant and Cntnap2 knockout mouse models showed different patterns of behavioral state occupancy.

    Limitations

    Genetic risk factors for autism are numerous, and we tested only two. Our pipeline was only done under conditions of free behavior. Testing under task or social conditions would reveal more information about behavioral dynamics and variability.

    Conclusions

    Our automated pipeline for deep phenotyping successfully captures model-specific deviations in adaptation and movement as well as differences in the detailed structure of behavioral dynamics. The reported deficits indicate that deep phenotyping constitutes a robust set of ASD symptoms that may be considered for implementation in clinical settings as quantitative diagnosis criteria.

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