A novel sensor design for accurate measurement of facial somatosensation in pre-term infants

Alessandro Donadio, Kimberley Whitehead, Franck Gonzalez, Elisabeth Wilhelm, Domenico Formica, Judith Meek, Lorenzo Fabrizi, Etienne Burdet

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Abstract

Facial somatosensory feedback is critical for breastfeeding in the first days of life. However, its development has never been investigated in humans. Here we develop a new interface to measure facial somatosensation in newborn infants. The novel system allows to measure neuronal responses to touching the face of the subject by synchronously recording scalp electroencephalography (EEG) and the force applied by the experimenter. This is based on a dedicated force transducer that can be worn on the finger underneath a clinical nitrile glove and linked to a commercial EEG acquisition system. The calibrated device measures the pressure applied by the investigator when tapping the skin concurrently with the resulting brain response. With this system, we were able to demonstrate that taps of 192 mN (mean) reliably elicited facial somatosensory responses in 7 pre-term infants. These responses had a time course similar to those following limbs stimulation, but more lateral topographical distribution consistent with body representations in primary somatosensory areas. The method introduced can therefore be used to reliably measure facial somatosensory responses in vulnerable infants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0207145
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16-Nov-2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • TIBIAL-NERVE-STIMULATION
  • EARLY MOTOR-ACTIVITY
  • LOW-BIRTH-WEIGHT
  • EVOKED-POTENTIALS
  • NEWBORN-INFANTS
  • HUMAN NEONATE
  • TERM INFANTS
  • MATURATION
  • RESPONSES
  • SLEEP

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