A partially averaged system to model neuron responses to interferential current stimulation


The interferential current (IFC) therapy is a noninvasive electrical neurostimulation technique intended to activate deep neurons using surface electrodes. In IFC, two independent kilohertz-frequency currents purportedly intersect where an interference field is generated. However, the effects of IFC on neurons within and outside the interference field are not completely understood, and it is unclear whether this technique can reliable activate deep target neurons without side effects. In recent years, realistic computational models of IFC have been introduced to quantify the effects of IFC on brain cells, but they are often complex and computationally costly. Here, we introduce a simplified model of IFC based on the FitzHugh-Nagumo (FHN) model of a neuron. By considering a modified averaging method, we obtain a non-autonomous approximated system, with explicit representation of relevant IFC parameters. For this approximated system we determine conditions under which it reliably approximates the complete FHN system under IFC stimulation, and we mathematically prove its ability to predict nonspiking states. In addition, we perform numerical simulations that show that the interference effect is observed only for a narrow set of IFC parameters and, in particular, for a beat frequency no higher than about 100 [Hz]. Our novel model tailored to the IFC technique contributes to the understanding of neurostimulation modalities using this type of signals, and can have implications in the design of noninvasive electrical stimulation therapies.

Leo Medina
Leo Medina
Principal Investigator

Leo teaches computer engineering courses at Usach, and his research interests are in the neural engineering and computational neuroscience fields. His work has contributed to understand how nerve fibers respond to electrical stimulation.

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