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Preserved motor representations after paralysis

Guan, Charles and Aflalo, Tyson and Zhang, Carey Y. and Rosario, Emily R. and Pouratian, Nader and Andersen, Richard A. (2021) Preserved motor representations after paralysis. . (Unpublished)

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Neural plasticity allows us to learn skills and incorporate new experiences. What happens when our lived experiences fundamentally change, such as after a severe injury? To address this question, we analyzed intracortical population activity in a tetraplegic adult as she controlled a virtual hand through a brain-computer interface (BCI). By attempting to move her fingers, she could accurately drive the corresponding virtual fingers. Neural activity during finger movements exhibited robust representational structure and dynamics that matched the representational structure, previously identified in able-bodied individuals. The finger representational structure was consistent during extended use, even though the structure contributed to BCI decoding errors. Our results suggest that motor representations are remarkably stable, even after complete paralysis. BCIs re-engage these preserved representations to restore lost motor functions.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemCode
Aflalo, Tyson0000-0002-0101-2455
Zhang, Carey Y.0000-0001-9867-4510
Pouratian, Nader0000-0002-0426-3241
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0002-7947-0472
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license. This version posted October 9, 2021. We thank participant X for her dedicated participation in the study. Kelsie Pejsa and Viktor Scherbatyuk for administrative and technical assistance. Paulina Kieliba, Elena Amoruso, and Tamar Makin for sharing their M1/SPLa fMRI data. Tamar Makin for her comments on the manuscript. Jörn Diedrichsen and Spencer Arbuckle for publicly sharing their M1 data and models. Data availability: Data will be deposited in the BRAIN Initiative DANDI Archive before publication. Code availability: The custom analysis code will be made available at before publication. Author Contributions: T.A., C.G., and R.A.A. designed the study. T.A and C.Y.Z. developed the experimental tasks and collected data. C.G. and T.A. analyzed the results. C.G. and T.A. interpreted results. C.G. and T.A. wrote the paper. E.R.R. provided experimental facilities and coordinated with Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare. N.P. performed the surgery to implant the recording arrays. The authors have declared no competing interest.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211013-152456288
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Official Citation:Preserved motor representations after paralysis. Charles Guan, Tyson Aflalo, Carey Y. Zhang, Emily R. Rosario, Nader Pouratian, Richard A. Andersen. bioRxiv 2021.10.07.463105; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111397
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Oct 2021 15:49
Last Modified:13 Oct 2021 15:49

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