Recording and Decoding of Vagal Neural Signals Related to Changes in Physiological Parameters and Biomarkers of Disease.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med
Our bodies have built-in neural reflexes that continuously monitor organ function and maintain physiological homeostasis. Whereas the field of bioelectronic medicine has mainly focused on the stimulation of neural circuits to treat various conditions, recent studies have started to investigate the possibility of leveraging the sensory arm of these reflexes to diagnose disease states. To accomplish this, neural signals emanating from the body's built-in biosensors and propagating through peripheral nerves must be recorded and decoded to identify the presence or levels of relevant biomarkers of disease. The process of acquiring these signals poses several technical challenges related to the neural interfaces, surgical techniques, and data-processing framework needed to record and analyze them. However, these challenges can be addressed with a rigorous experimental approach and new advances in implantable electrodes, signal processing, and machine learning methods. Outlined in this review are studies decoding vagus nerve activity as it related to inflammatory, metabolic, and cardiopulmonary biomarkers. Successfully decoding peripheral nerve activity related to disease states will not only enable the development of real-time diagnostic devices, but also help advancing truly closed-loop neuromodulation technologies.
School of Medicine
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