1 March 2007 Selectivity of neural stimulation in the auditory system: a comparison of optic and electric stimuli
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Pulsed, mid-infrared lasers were recently investigated as a method to stimulate neural activity. There are significant benefits of optically stimulating nerves over electrically stimulating, in particular the application of more spatially confined neural stimulation. We report results from experiments in which the gerbil auditory system was stimulated by optical radiation, acoustic tones, or electric current. Immunohistochemical staining for the protein c-FOS revealed the spread of excitation. We demonstrate a spatially selective activation of neurons using a laser; only neurons in the direct optical path are stimulated. This pattern of c-FOS labeling is in contrast to that after electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation leads to a large, more spatially extended population of labeled, activated neurons. In the auditory system, optical stimulation of nerves could have a significant impact on the performance of cochlear implants, which can be limited by the electric current spread.
© (2007) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Agnella D. Izzo, Agnella D. Izzo, Eul Suh, Eul Suh, Jyoti Pathria, Jyoti Pathria, Joseph T. Walsh, Joseph T. Walsh, Donna S. Whitlon, Donna S. Whitlon, Claus-Peter Richter, Claus-Peter Richter, } "Selectivity of neural stimulation in the auditory system: a comparison of optic and electric stimuli," Journal of Biomedical Optics 12(2), 021008 (1 March 2007). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.2714296 . Submission:

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