It is thought that the brain does not simply react to sensory feedback, but rather uses an internal model of the body to predict the consequences of motor commands before sensory feedback arrives. Time-delayed sensory feedback can then be used to correct for the unexpected—perturbations, motor noise, or a moving target. The cerebellum has been implicated in this predictive control process. Here we show that the feedback gain in patients with cerebellar ataxia matches that of healthy subjects, but that patients exhibit substantially more phase lag. This difference is captured by a computational model incorporating a Smith predictor in healthy subjects that is missing in patients, supporting the predictive role of the cerebellum in feedback control. Lastly, we improve cerebellar patients’ movement control by altering (phase advancing) the visual feedback they receive from their own self movement in a simplified virtual reality setup.
All data generated or analyzed during this study will be openly on the JHU Data Archive under DOI 10.7281/T1/BCARLC.The data will be available here: https://archive.data.jhu.edu/dataverse/LIMBS
Data Associated with publication: Cerebellar patients have intact feedback control that can be leveraged to improve reachingJHU Data Archive , 10.7281/T1/BCARLC.
- Amy J Bastian
- Noah J Cowan
- Amanda M Zimmet
- Di Cao
- Amy J Bastian
- Noah J Cowan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: The experimental protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (protocol # IRB00182673) and all participants gave informed consent prior to joining this study, according to the Declaration of Helsinki.
- Richard B Ivry, University of California, Berkeley, United States
© 2020, Zimmet et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cochlear implants are neuroprosthetic devices that can restore hearing in people with severe to profound hearing loss by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. Because of physical limitations on the precision of this stimulation, the acoustic information delivered by a cochlear implant does not convey the same level of acoustic detail as that conveyed by normal hearing. As a result, speech understanding in listeners with cochlear implants is typically poorer and more effortful than in listeners with normal hearing. The brain networks supporting speech understanding in listeners with cochlear implants are not well understood, partly due to difficulties obtaining functional neuroimaging data in this population. In the current study, we assessed the brain regions supporting spoken word understanding in adult listeners with right unilateral cochlear implants (n=20) and matched controls (n=18) using high-density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT), a quiet and non-invasive imaging modality with spatial resolution comparable to that of functional MRI. We found that while listening to spoken words in quiet, listeners with cochlear implants showed greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex than listeners with normal hearing, specifically in a region engaged in a separate spatial working memory task. These results suggest that listeners with cochlear implants require greater cognitive processing during speech understanding than listeners with normal hearing, supported by compensatory recruitment of the left prefrontal cortex.
Sleep strongly affects synaptic strength, making it critical for cognition, especially learning and memory formation. Whether and how sleep deprivation modulates human brain physiology and cognition is not well understood. Here we examined how overnight sleep deprivation vs overnight sufficient sleep affects (a) cortical excitability, measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation, (b) inducibility of long-term potentiation (LTP)- and long-term depression (LTD)-like plasticity via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and (c) learning, memory, and attention. The results suggest that sleep deprivation upscales cortical excitability due to enhanced glutamate-related cortical facilitation and decreases and/or reverses GABAergic cortical inhibition. Furthermore, tDCS-induced LTP-like plasticity (anodal) abolishes while the inhibitory LTD-like plasticity (cathodal) converts to excitatory LTP-like plasticity under sleep deprivation. This is associated with increased EEG theta oscillations due to sleep pressure. Finally, we show that learning and memory formation, behavioral counterparts of plasticity, and working memory and attention, which rely on cortical excitability, are impaired during sleep deprivation. Our data indicate that upscaled brain excitability and altered plasticity, due to sleep deprivation, are associated with impaired cognitive performance. Besides showing how brain physiology and cognition undergo changes (from neurophysiology to higher-order cognition) under sleep pressure, the findings have implications for variability and optimal application of noninvasive brain stimulation.