31 research outputs found

    Gravity influences top-down signals in visual processing.

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    Visual perception is not only based on incoming visual signals but also on information about a multimodal reference frame that incorporates vestibulo-proprioceptive input and motor signals. In addition, top-down modulation of visual processing has previously been demonstrated during cognitive operations including selective attention and working memory tasks. In the absence of a stable gravitational reference, the updating of salient stimuli becomes crucial for successful visuo-spatial behavior by humans in weightlessness. Here we found that visually-evoked potentials triggered by the image of a tunnel just prior to an impending 3D movement in a virtual navigation task were altered in weightlessness aboard the International Space Station, while those evoked by a classical 2D-checkerboard were not. Specifically, the analysis of event-related spectral perturbations and inter-trial phase coherency of these EEG signals recorded in the frontal and occipital areas showed that phase-locking of theta-alpha oscillations was suppressed in weightlessness, but only for the 3D tunnel image. Moreover, analysis of the phase of the coherency demonstrated the existence on Earth of a directional flux in the EEG signals from the frontal to the occipital areas mediating a top-down modulation during the presentation of the image of the 3D tunnel. In weightlessness, this fronto-occipital, top-down control was transformed into a diverging flux from the central areas toward the frontal and occipital areas. These results demonstrate that gravity-related sensory inputs modulate primary visual areas depending on the affordances of the visual scene

    Gravity Influences Top-Down Signals in Visual Processing

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    International audienceVisual perception is not only based on incoming visual signals but also on information about a multimodal reference frame that incorporates vestibulo-proprioceptive input and motor signals. In addition, top-down modulation of visual processing has previously been demonstrated during cognitive operations including selective attention and working memory tasks. In the absence of a stable gravitational reference, the updating of salient stimuli becomes crucial for successful visuo-spatial behavior by humans in weightlessness. Here we found that visually-evoked potentials triggered by the image of a tunnel just prior to an impending 3D movement in a virtual navigation task were altered in weightlessness aboard the International Space Station, while those evoked by a classical 2D-checkerboard were not. Specifically, the analysis of event-related spectral perturbations and inter-trial phase coherency of these EEG signals recorded in the frontal and occipital areas showed that phase-locking of theta-alpha oscillations was suppressed in weightlessness, but only for the 3D tunnel image. Moreover, analysis of the phase of the coherency demonstrated the existence on Earth of a directional flux in the EEG signals from the frontal to the occipital areas mediating a top-down modulation during the presentation of the image of the 3D tunnel. In weightlessness, this fronto-occipital, top-down control was transformed into a diverging flux from the central areas toward the frontal and occipital areas. These results demonstrate that gravity-related sensory inputs modulate primary visual areas depending on the affordances of the visual scene

    Weightlessness alters up/down asymmetries in the perception of self-motion

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    In the present study, we investigated the effect of weightlessness on the ability to perceive and remember self-motion when passing through virtual 3D tunnels that curve in different direction (up, down, left, right). We asked cosmonaut subjects to perform the experiment before, during and after long-duration space flight aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and we manipulated vestibular versus haptic cues by having subjects perform the task either in a rigidly fixed posture with respect to the space station or during free-floating, in weightlessness. Subjects were driven passively at constant speed through the virtual 3D tunnels containing a single turn in the middle of a linear segment, either in pitch or in yaw, in increments of 12.5. After exiting each tunnel, subjects were asked to report their perception of the turn's angular magnitude by adjusting, with a trackball, the angular bend in a rod symbolizing the outside view of the tunnel. We demonstrate that the strong asymmetry between downward and upward pitch turns observed on Earth showed an immediate and significant reduction when free-floating in weightlessness and a delayed reduction when the cosmonauts were firmly in contact with the floor of the station. These effects of weightlessness on the early processing stages (vestibular and optokinetics) that underlie the perception of self-motion did not stem from a change in alertness or any other uncontrolled factor in the ISS, as evidenced by the fact that weightlessness had no effect on the perception of yaw turns. That the effects on the perception of pitch may be partially overcome by haptic cues reflects the fusion of multisensory cues and top-down influences on visual perception. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.SCOPUS: ar.jinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishe

    Planar covariation of elevation angles in prosthetic gait.

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    In order to achieve efficacious walking, transfemoral amputees must adapt coordination within both the artificial and the sound lower limb. We analyzed kinematic strategies in amputees using the planar covariation of lower limb segments approach. When the elevation angles of the thigh, shank and foot are plotted one versus the others, they describe a regular loop which lies close to a plane in normal adults' gait. Orientation of this plane changes with increased speed, in relation to mechanical energetic saving. We used an opto-electronic device to record the elevation angles of both limbs' segments of novice and expert transfemoral amputees and compared them to those of control subjects. The statistical structure underlying the distribution of these angles was described by principal component analysis and Fourier transform. The typical elliptic loop was preserved in prosthetic walking, in both limbs in both novice and expert transfemoral amputees. This reflects a specific control over the thigh elevation angle taking into account knowledge of the other elevation angles throughout the gait cycle. The best-fitting plane of faster trials rotates around the long axis of the gait loop with respect to the plane of slower trials for control subjects, and even more for the sound limb of expert amputees. In contrast, plane rotation is very weak or absent for the prosthetic limb. We suggest that these results reveal a centrally commanded compensation strategy.JOURNAL ARTICLESCOPUS: ar.jinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishe

    Optimizing the performances of a P300-based brain-computer interface in ambulatory conditions

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    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) enable their users to interact with their surrounding environment using the activity of their brain only, without activating any muscle. This technology provides severely disabled people with an alternative mean to communicate or control any electric device. On the other hand, BCI applications are more and more dedicated to healthier people, with the aim of giving them access to augmented reality or new rehabilitation tools. As it is noninvasive, light and relatively cheap, electroencephalography (EEG) is the most used acquisition technique to record cerebral activity of the BCI users. However, when using such type of BCI, user movements are likely to provoke motions of the measuring electrodes which can severely damage the EEG quality. Thus, current BCI technology requires that the user sits and performs as little movements as possible. This is of course a strong limitation of BCI for use in ordinary life. Very recently, preliminary studies have been published in the literature and suggest that BCI applications can be realized even in the physically moving context. In this paper, we thoroughly investigate the possibility to develop a P300-based BCI system in ambulatory condition. The study is based on experimental data recorded with seven subjects executing a visual P300 speller-like discrimination task while simultaneously walking at different speeds on a treadmill. It is demonstrated that a P300-based BCI is definitely feasible in such conditions. Different artifact correction methods are described and discussed in detail. To conclude, a recommended approach is given for the development of a real-time application. © 2011 IEEE.SCOPUS: ar.jinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishe

    Rhythmic muscular activation pattern for fast figure-eight movement.

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    OBJECTIVE: To address the question of how the CNS generates muscle activation patterns for complex gestures, we have chosen to study a figure-eight movement. We hypothesized that the well defined rhythmic aspect of this figure will provide further insights into the temporal features of multi-muscular commands. METHODS: Subjects performed, as fast as possible, figure-eights initiated in the center of the figure with 4 different initial directions and 2 positions of the shoulder. We extracted the temporal modulation of the EMG patterns by calculating conjugate cross-correlation functions. RESULTS: (1) The muscular command was tuned with respect to the rotational direction of the figure-eight, (2) two sets of synergistic muscles acted in a reciprocal mode, and (3) these reciprocal commands presented an invariant temporal correlation with the spatial component of the velocity having the highest frequency. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the rhythmic features of certain drawing movements favor the partitioning of the muscles into synergistic groups acting in a reciprocal mode. The inclusion of an individual muscle in one group or the other takes into account the expected number of changes of direction in the movement as a whole. SIGNIFICANCE: Muscular temporal synergies may depend on the rhythmic features of the trajectory.JOURNAL ARTICLESCOPUS: ar.jinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishe

    Movement gating of beta/gamma oscillations involved in the N30 somatosensory evoked potential.

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    Evoked potential modulation allows the study of dynamic brain processing. The mechanism of movement gating of the frontal N30 component of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) produced by the stimulation of the median nerve at wrist remains to be elucidated. At rest, a power enhancement and a significant phase-locking of the electroencephalographic (EEG) oscillation in the beta/gamma range (25-35 Hz) are related to the emergence of the N30. The latter was also perfectly identified in presence of pure phase-locking situation. Here, we investigated the contribution of these rhythmic activities to the specific gating of the N30 component during movement. We demonstrated that concomitant execution of finger movement of the stimulated hand impinges such temporal concentration of the ongoing beta/gamma EEG oscillations and abolishes the N30 component throughout their large topographical extent on the scalp. This also proves that the phase-locking phenomenon is one of the main actors for the N30 generation. These findings could be explained by the involvement of neuronal populations of the sensorimotor cortex and other related areas, which are unable to respond to the phasic sensory activation and to phase-lock their firing discharges to the external sensory input during the movement. This new insight into the contribution of phase-locked oscillation in the emergence of the N30 and in its gating behavior calls for a reappraisal of fundamental and clinical interpretation of the frontal N30 component.Journal ArticleResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tFLWINinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishe

    Mu and alpha EEG rhythms during the arrest reaction in microgravity

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    Mu and alpha oscillations (8-12 Hz) are the most prominent electroencephalographic rhythms observed in awake, relaxed subjects. Different cortical sources may participate in these oscillations and appear to be modulated by the sensorimotor context and functional demands. In microgravity, the marked reduction in multimodal graviceptive inputs to cortical networks participating in the representation of space could be expected to affect these spontaneous rhythms. Here, we report the results of an experiment conducted over the course of 3 space flights, in which we quantified the power of the mu and alpha rhythms in relation to the arrest reaction (i.e. in 2 distinct physiological states: eyes open and eyes closed). We observed that the power of the spontaneous mu and alpha rhythms recorded in the eyesclosed state in the sensorimotor areas (mu rhythm) and in the parieto-occipital cortex (alpha rhythm) increased in microgravity. The suppression coefficient produced by eye-opening/ closure state transition also increased in microgravity. These results are discussed in terms of current theories on the source and the physiological significance of these EEG rhythms. © 2007 Z-Tec Publishing.SCOPUS: ar.jinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishe
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