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EEG of electrically activated sensation

Project Full Title:

Electroencephalography (EEG) to Compare Actual and Electrically Activated Touch

Project Mentor(s):

Polasek,Katharine

Project Mentor(s) EMail:

polasek@hope.edu

Project Start Date:

5/13/2019

Project End Date:

7/20/2019

Project Description:

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Engineering, and Neuroscience. We will make use of the Electroencephalography equipment in the psychology department but the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering.

Individuals who have an amputated limb often retain 'feeling' in the missing limb that can sometimes manifest in extreme pain, referred to as phantom limb pain. Pharmaceutical treatment for phantom limb pain is varied and often unsuccessful. Research suggests that incorporation of the prosthetic limb into the user's body image will decrease the occurrence/severity of phantom limb pain. Providing sensation from the prosthetic limb is one method to help include it in the body image. The ultimate goal of this research is to design a therapeutic protocol to be used with amputees to reduce or eliminate phantom limb pain.

Electrical stimulation can be used to evoke sensation from intact nerves. After amputation of a limb, the nerves that once detected sensory information like touch and movement remain viable, even though the sensors are missing. Appropriate activation of these nerves will provide sensations in the missing limb. The questions that we are looking to answer in this project are: how do the cortical signal compare between actual and artificial sensation and how do these signals change over time. We will be recording EEGs using equipment in the psychology department and analyzing the data to determine which different aspects of the signal change with tapping different locations as well as using electrical activation of sensation.

The student(s) will be involved in experimental design, equipment setup and programing, taking data with human subjects and data analysis. Programing and data analysis will be performed in Matlab. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

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