The Design of Brainstem Interfaces: Characterisation of Physiological Artefacts and Implications for Closed-loop Algorithms.
Deli A., Toth R., Zamora M., Divanbeighi Zand AP., Green AL., Denison T.
Surgical neuromodulation through implantable devices allows for stimulation delivery to subcortical regions, crucial for symptom control in many debilitating neurological conditions. Novel closed-loop algorithms deliver therapy tailor-made to endogenous physiological activity, however rely on precise sensing of signals such as subcortical oscillations. The frequency of such intrinsic activity can vary depending on subcortical target nucleus, while factors such as regional anatomy may also contribute to variability in sensing signals. While artefact parameters have been explored in more 'standard' and commonly used targets (such as the basal ganglia, which are implanted in movement disorders), characterisation in novel candidate nuclei is still under investigation. One such important area is the brainstem, which contains nuclei crucial for arousal and autonomic regulation. The brainstem provides additional implantation targets for treatment indications in disorders of consciousness and sleep, yet poses distinct anatomical challenges compared to central subcortical targets. Here we investigate the region-specific artefacts encountered during activity and rest while streaming data from brainstem implants with a cranially-mounted device in two patients. Such artefacts result from this complex anatomical environment and its interactions with physiological parameters such as head movement and cardiac functions. The implications of the micromotion-induced artefacts, and potential mitigation, are then considered for future closed-loop stimulation methods.