Neuro-fuzzy decoding of sensory information from ensembles of simultaneously recorded dorsal root ganglion neurons for functional electrical stimulation applications
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is used to improve motor function after injury to the central nervous system. Some FES systems use artificial sensors to switch between finite control states. To optimize FES control of the complex behavior of the musculo-skeletal system in activities of daily life, it is highly desirable to implement feedback control. In theory, sensory neural signals could provide the required control signals. Recent studies have demonstrated the feasibility of deriving limb-state estimates from the firing rates of primary afferent neurons recorded in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). These studies used multiple linear regression (MLR) methods to generate estimates of limb position and velocity based on a weighted sum of firing rates in an ensemble of simultaneously recorded DRG neurons. The aim of this study was to test whether the use of a neuro-fuzzy (NF) algorithm (the generalized dynamic fuzzy neural networks (GD-FNN)) could improve the performance, robustness and ability to generalize from training to test sets compared to the MLR technique. NF and MLR decoding methods were applied to ensemble DRG recordings obtained during passive and active limb movements in anesthetized and freely moving cats. The GD-FNN model provided more accurate estimates of limb state and generalized better to novel movement patterns. Future efforts will focus on implementing these neural recording and decoding methods in real time to provide closed-loop control of FES using the information extracted from sensory neurons.