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Cortical Mechanisms of Attention, Discrimination, and Motor Response to Somaesthetic Stimuli
Annual rept. 1 Apr 1990-31 Mar 1991
HAHNEMANN MEDICAL COLL AND HOSPITAL PHILADELPHIA PA DEPT OF PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOPHYSICS
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The overall aim of this research is to investigate the neural circuit mechanisms of attentional and discriminative processing of somatosensory stimuli which are cues for limb movement. These issues are being addressed mainly through use of multi-single neuron recording techniques, which we have recently developed. In the past granting period this approach has been used to record from ensembles of single neurons through microwire electrode arrays chronically implanted in the forepawforelimb areas of the somatosensory SI and motor MI cortices in awake behaving rats. These animals are trained to place their forepaw on a bar and move it up or down immediately upon detecting a vibratory stimulus imposed on the bar. Initially, only neurons in the SI responded to the sensory cue. After the rat learned to perform to criterion in the task, however, neurons in the MI cortex also responded at relatively short latency to the sensory cue. This suggests that transmission through a trans-cortical sensorimotor loop can be enhanced through training. Additional progress has been made on several other projects which provide necessary background information for this investigation.
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