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Abstract

Objective.Electrical stimulation is an effective method for artificially modulating the activity of the nervous system. However, current stimulation paradigms fail to reproduce the stochastic and asynchronous properties of natural neural activity. Here, we introduce a novel biomimetic stimulation (BioS) strategy that overcomes these limitations.Approach.We hypothesized that high-frequency amplitude-modulated bursts of stimulation could induce asynchronous neural firings by distributing recruitment over the duration of a burst, without sacrificing the ability to precisely control neural activity. We tested this hypothesis using computer simulations and ex vivo experiments.Main results.We found that BioS bursts induce asynchronous, stochastic, yet controllable, neural activity. We established that varying the amplitude, duration, and repetition frequency of a BioS burst enables graded modulation of the number of recruited fibers, their firing rate, and the synchronicity of their responses.Significance.These results demonstrate an unprecedented level of control over artificially induced neural activity, enabling the design of next-generation BioS paradigms with potentially profound consequences for the field of neurostimulation.

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