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Enriched Stimulation Protocol for Improved Observation of Nociceptive Evoked Potentials during NDT-EP Method

Athlekar, Saumitra R. (2022) Enriched Stimulation Protocol for Improved Observation of Nociceptive Evoked Potentials during NDT-EP Method.

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Abstract:Chronic pain disorders affect innumerable people all across the world. Such pain manifests as pain lasting long periods over months or even years, and tends to adversely affect the quality of lives of those suffering from it in various ways. As of yet, there is no effective treatment for chronic pain nor any appropriate diagnostic method, as its exact mechanism is not well-understood. As chronic pain is thought to occur due to disturbed processes in the central nervous system, research into the characterisation of the central nervous system, especially the part of the sensory system that is involved in pain-processing, called the nociceptive system, is crucial. Such research has its own obstacles. For instance, electrical activity on the scalp, caused by painful electrical stimuli, is measured with EEG, and the evoked potentials produced by the stimuli can be analysed to understand how the stimulus properties affect these evoked potentials. However, the measured potentials also include a component resulting from the novelty of the stimulus itself, and from the task of detecting the stimulus and indicating that it has been detected. This component is called the novelty component, and it must be removed if any characterisation of the relationship between stimulus properties and the evoked potentials produced by the stimulus is to be made. In this study, a new repetitive stimulation protocol was designed with the purpose of removing the undesirable novelty component from the measured evoked potentials. The protocol was tested by obtaining EEG data from subjects, which was recorded during experiments done using this stimulation protocol. The evoked potentials and scalp topography induced by the stimuli were studied to see if it could be concluded that the novelty component was removed, as intended. The results showed that the protocol designed for this study is a promising way of removing the novelty component from the evoked potentials. With some modifications and improvements, the repetitive stimulation protocol could be useful in obtaining evoked potentials that contain only the component corresponding to the physiological response of the central nervous system to the painful stimuli. For example, changing the method by which the subjects indicate that they felt the stimuli was found to be potentially useful in improving this protocol. More research is needed in order to confirm the utility of the protocol, and in order to improve it to suit its purpose.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:53 electrotechnology
Programme:Electrical Engineering MSc (60353)
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