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Abstract #5569

Novel MRI-compatible foot-sole stimulator for characterizing the cortical regions pertaining to walking-related somatosensory perception

Tingwei Zhang1, Kai Zhang1, Yufeng Chai1, Yunfei Long2, Xiaoying Wang3, Junhong Zhou4,5,6, Brad Manor4,5,6, Lewis A. Lipsitz4,5,6, Jue Zhang1,2, and Jing Fang1,2

1Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China, 2College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China, 3Department of Radiology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China, 4Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research, Roslindale, MA, United States, 5Division of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States, 6Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

The decline of foot-sole somatosensation is one of the main contributors to diminished balance of walking. The response of brain regions to the inputs from foot-soles is critical to the somatosensory perception, which, however, remains unknown. Here we developed a dual-drive stimulator applying pressure stimuli that mimic those as experienced during walking on the feet. This stimulator is compatible for MRI and the foot-sole pressure stimuli significantly increases the excitability (i.e., BOLD signal intensity) within multiple brain regions. This stimulator may thus be a novel tool to characterize the brain’s responsiveness in the perception of foot-sole somatosensation pertaining to walking.

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