skip to main content

Title: Nonlinear functional muscle network based on information theory tracks sensorimotor integration post stroke

Sensory information is critical for motor coordination. However, understanding sensorimotor integration is complicated, especially in individuals with impairment due to injury to the central nervous system. This research presents a novel functional biomarker, based on a nonlinear network graph of muscle connectivity, called InfoMuNet, to quantify the role of sensory information on motor performance. Thirty-two individuals with post-stroke hemiparesis performed a grasp-and-lift task, while their muscle activity from 8 muscles in each arm was measured using surface electromyography. Subjects performed the task with their affected hand before and after sensory exposure to the task performed with the less-affected hand. For the first time, this work shows that InfoMuNet robustly quantifies changes in functional muscle connectivity in the affected hand after exposure to sensory information from the less-affected side. > 90% of the subjects conformed with the improvement resulting from this sensory exposure. InfoMuNet also shows high sensitivity to tactile, kinesthetic, and visual input alterations at the subject level, highlighting its potential use in precision rehabilitation interventions.

; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Cortical representations expand during skilled motor learning. We studied a unique model of motor learning with cellular phone texting, where the thumbs are used exclusively to interact with the device and the prominence of use can be seen where 3200 text messages are exchanged a month in the 18–24 age demographic. The purpose of the present study was to examine the motor cortex representation and input–output (IO) recruitment curves of the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) muscle of the thumb and the ADM muscle with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), relative to individuals’ texting abilities and short-term texting practice. Eighteen individuals performed a functional texting task (FTT) where we scored their texting speed and accuracy. TMS was then used to examine the cortical volumes and areas of activity in the two muscles and IO curves were constructed to measure excitability. Subjects also performed a 10-min practice texting task, after which we repeated the cortical measures. There were no associations between the cortical measures and the FTT scores before practice. However, after practice the APB cortical map expanded and excitability increased, whereas the ADM map constricted. The increase in the active cortical areas in APB correlated with the improvement in the FTT score.more »Based on the homogenous group of subjects that were already good at texting, we conclude that the cortical representations and excitability for the thumb muscle were already enlarged and more receptive to changes with short-term practice, as noted by the increase in FTT performance after 10-min of practice.« less
  2. Abstract

    Hand position can be estimated by vision and proprioception (position sense). The brain is thought to weight and integrate these percepts to form a multisensory estimate of hand position with which to guide movement. Force field adaptation, a type of cerebellum-dependent motor learning, is associated with both motor and proprioceptive changes. The cerebellum has connections with multisensory parietal regions; however, it is unknown if force adaptation is associated with changes in multisensory perception. If force adaptation affects all relevant sensory modalities similarly, the brain’s weighting of vision vs. proprioception should be maintained. Alternatively, if force perturbation is interpreted as somatosensory unreliability, vision may be up-weighted relative to proprioception. We assessed visuo-proprioceptive weighting with a perceptual estimation task before and after subjects performed straight-ahead reaches grasping a robotic manipulandum. Each subject performed one session with a clockwise or counter-clockwise velocity-dependent force field, and one session in a null field. Subjects increased their weight of vision vs. proprioception in the force field session relative to the null session, regardless of force field direction, in the straight-ahead dimension (F1,44 = 5.13, p = 0.029). This suggests that force field adaptation is associated with an increase in the brain’s weighting of vision vs. proprioception.

  3. Abstract Working memory (WM) supports the persistent representation of transient sensory information. Visual and auditory stimuli place different demands on WM and recruit different brain networks. Separate auditory- and visual-biased WM networks extend into the frontal lobes, but several challenges confront attempts to parcellate human frontal cortex, including fine-grained organization and between-subject variability. Here, we use differential intrinsic functional connectivity from 2 visual-biased and 2 auditory-biased frontal structures to identify additional candidate sensory-biased regions in frontal cortex. We then examine direct contrasts of task functional magnetic resonance imaging during visual versus auditory 2-back WM to validate those candidate regions. Three visual-biased and 5 auditory-biased regions are robustly activated bilaterally in the frontal lobes of individual subjects (N = 14, 7 women). These regions exhibit a sensory preference during passive exposure to task stimuli, and that preference is stronger during WM. Hierarchical clustering analysis of intrinsic connectivity among novel and previously identified bilateral sensory-biased regions confirms that they functionally segregate into visual and auditory networks, even though the networks are anatomically interdigitated. We also observe that the frontotemporal auditory WM network is highly selective and exhibits strong functional connectivity to structures serving non-WM functions, while the frontoparietal visual WM network hierarchically merges intomore »the multiple-demand cognitive system.« less
  4. The macaque middle temporal (MT) area is well known for its visual motion selectivity and relevance to motion perception, but the possibility of it also reflecting higher-level cognitive functions has largely been ignored. We tested for effects of task performance distinct from sensory encoding by manipulating subjects' temporal evidence-weighting strategy during a direction discrimination task while performing electrophysiological recordings from groups of MT neurons in rhesus macaques (one male, one female). This revealed multiple components of MT responses that were, surprisingly, not interpretable as behaviorally relevant modulations of motion encoding, or as bottom-up consequences of the readout of motion direction from MT. The time-varying motion-driven responses of MT were strongly affected by our strategic manipulation—but with time courses opposite the subjects' temporal weighting strategies. Furthermore, large choice-correlated signals were represented in population activity distinct from its motion responses, with multiple phases that lagged psychophysical readout and even continued after the stimulus (but which preceded motor responses). In summary, a novel experimental manipulation of strategy allowed us to control the time course of readout to challenge the correlation between sensory responses and choices, and population-level analyses of simultaneously recorded ensembles allowed us to identify strong signals that were so distinct frommore »direction encoding that conventional, single-neuron-centric analyses could not have revealed or properly characterized them. Together, these approaches revealed multiple cognitive contributions to MT responses that are task related but not functionally relevant to encoding or decoding of motion for psychophysical direction discrimination, providing a new perspective on the assumed status of MT as a simple sensory area.

    SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTThis study extends understanding of the middle temporal (MT) area beyond its representation of visual motion. Combining multineuron recordings, population-level analyses, and controlled manipulation of task strategy, we exposed signals that depended on changes in temporal weighting strategy, but did not manifest as feedforward effects on behavior. This was demonstrated by (1) an inverse relationship between temporal dynamics of behavioral readout and sensory encoding, (2) a choice-correlated signal that always lagged the stimulus time points most correlated with decisions, and (3) a distinct choice-correlated signal after the stimulus. These findings invite re-evaluation of MT for functions outside of its established sensory role and highlight the power of experimenter-controlled changes in temporal strategy, coupled with recording and analysis approaches that transcend the single-neuron perspective.

    « less
  5. Dynamic adaptation is an error-driven process of adjusting planned motor actions to changes in task dynamics (Shadmehr, 2017). Adapted motor plans are consolidated into memories that contribute to better performance on re-exposure. Consolidation begins within 15 min following training (Criscimagna-Hemminger and Shadmehr, 2008), and can be measured via changes in resting state functional connectivity (rsFC). For dynamic adaptation, rsFC has not been quantified on this timescale, nor has its relationship to adaptative behavior been established. We used a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-compatible robot, the MR-SoftWrist (Erwin et al., 2017), to quantify rsFC specific to dynamic adaptation of wrist movements and subsequent memory formation in a mixed-sex cohort of human participants. We acquired fMRI during a motor execution and a dynamic adaptation task to localize brain networks of interest, and quantified rsFC within these networks in three 10-min windows occurring immediately before and after each task. The next day, we assessed behavioral retention. We used a mixed model of rsFC measured in each time window to identify changes in rsFC with task performance, and linear regression to identify the relationship between rsFC and behavior. Following the dynamic adaptation task, rsFC increased within the cortico-cerebellar network and decreased interhemispherically within themore »cortical sensorimotor network. Increases within the cortico-cerebellar network were specific to dynamic adaptation, as they were associated with behavioral measures of adaptation and retention, indicating that this network has a functional role in consolidation. Instead, decreases in rsFC within the cortical sensorimotor network were associated with motor control processes independent from adaptation and retention.

    SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTMotor memory consolidation processes have been studied via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) by analyzing changes in resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) occurring more than 30 min after adaptation. However, it is unknown whether consolidation processes are detectable immediately (<15 min) following dynamic adaptation. We used an fMRI-compatible wrist robot to localize brain regions involved in dynamic adaptation in the cortico-thalamic-cerebellar (CTC) and cortical sensorimotor networks and quantified changes in rsFC within each network immediately after adaptation. Different patterns of change in rsFC were observed compared with studies conducted at longer latencies. Increases in rsFC in the cortico-cerebellar network were specific to adaptation and retention, while interhemispheric decreases in the cortical sensorimotor network were associated with alternate motor control processes but not with memory formation.

    « less