Commercially available lower limb prostheses do not restore sensory feedback in amputees. Literature suggests that Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a valid non-invasive, somatotopic technique to elicit tactile sensations, but no studies have been performed to investigate the capability of discriminating stimulus intensity via TENS in the foot. The aim of the study is to investigate how TENS can be used in order to restore sensations in the lower limb with different levels of intensity. Two experimental protocols were developed and tested on 8 healthy subjects: Mapping protocol is addressed to a fully characterization of the evoked tactile sensations; the Stimulus Intensity Discrimination one aims at investigating the best stimulation parameter to modulate for allowing the recognition of different levels of intensity. The results showed how elicited sensations were mostly described as an almost natural and superficial. A variation of the referred sensation (from nothing to vibration) and its intensity (ρ=0.6431) occurred when a higher quantity of charge was injected. Among the three modulated stimulation parameters, Pulse Amplitude (PA) has the best performance in terms of success rate (90%) and has a statistically significant difference with Pulse Frequency (PF) (PPA-PF = 0.0073<0.016). In the future, PA modulation will be tested on a larger number of healthy subjects and on amputees.

Modulation of sensation intensity in the lower limb via Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

Demofonti A.;Cordella F.;Zollo L.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Commercially available lower limb prostheses do not restore sensory feedback in amputees. Literature suggests that Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a valid non-invasive, somatotopic technique to elicit tactile sensations, but no studies have been performed to investigate the capability of discriminating stimulus intensity via TENS in the foot. The aim of the study is to investigate how TENS can be used in order to restore sensations in the lower limb with different levels of intensity. Two experimental protocols were developed and tested on 8 healthy subjects: Mapping protocol is addressed to a fully characterization of the evoked tactile sensations; the Stimulus Intensity Discrimination one aims at investigating the best stimulation parameter to modulate for allowing the recognition of different levels of intensity. The results showed how elicited sensations were mostly described as an almost natural and superficial. A variation of the referred sensation (from nothing to vibration) and its intensity (ρ=0.6431) occurred when a higher quantity of charge was injected. Among the three modulated stimulation parameters, Pulse Amplitude (PA) has the best performance in terms of success rate (90%) and has a statistically significant difference with Pulse Frequency (PF) (PPA-PF = 0.0073<0.016). In the future, PA modulation will be tested on a larger number of healthy subjects and on amputees.
2021
978-1-7281-1179-7
Humans
Lower Extremity
Touch
Amputees
Artificial Limbs
Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12610/67587
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