New paper in press with the Old­en­burg brain-stim­u­la­tion crew!

AC alum­na Anna Wilsch has a new paper in press in Neu­roim­age, with Toralf Neul­ing, Jonas Obleser, and Christoph Her­rmann: “Tran­scra­nial alter­nat­ing cur­rent stim­u­la­tion with speech envelopes mod­u­lates speech com­pre­hen­sion”. In this proof-of-concept–like paper, we demon­strate that using the speech enve­lope as a “pilot sig­nal” for elec­tri­cal­ly stim­u­lat­ing the human brain, while a lis­ten­er tries to com­pre­hend that speech sig­nal buried in noise, does mod­u­late the listener’s speech–in–noise com­pre­hen­sion abil­i­ties.

The Preprint is here, … 

… while the abstract goes like this:
Cor­ti­cal entrain­ment of the audi­to­ry cor­tex to the broad­band tem­po­ral enve­lope of a speech sig­nal is cru­cial for speech com­pre­hen­sion. Entrain­ment results in phas­es of high and low neur­al excitabil­i­ty, which struc­ture and decode the incom­ing speech sig­nal. Entrain­ment to speech is strongest in the theta fre­quen­cy range (4−8 Hz), the aver­age fre­quen­cy of the speech enve­lope. If a speech sig­nal is degrad­ed, entrain­ment to the speech enve­lope is weak­er and speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty declines. Besides per­cep­tu­al­ly evoked cor­ti­cal entrain­ment, tran­scra­nial alter­nat­ing cur­rent stim­u­la­tion (tACS) entrains neur­al oscil­la­tions by apply­ing an elec­tric sig­nal to the brain. Accord­ing­ly, tACS-induced entrain­ment in audi­to­ry cor­tex has been shown to improve audi­to­ry per­cep­tion. The aim of the cur­rent study was to mod­u­late speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty exter­nal­ly by means of tACS such that the elec­tric cur­rent cor­re­sponds to the enve­lope of the pre­sent­ed speech stream (i.e., enve­lope-tACS). Par­tic­i­pants per­formed the Old­en­burg sen­tence test with sen­tences pre­sent­ed in noise in com­bi­na­tion with enve­lope-tACS. Crit­i­cal­ly, tACS was induced at time lags of 0 to 250 ms in 50-ms steps rel­a­tive to sen­tence onset (audi­to­ry stim­uli were simul­ta­ne­ous to or pre­ced­ed tACS). We per­formed sin­gle- sub­ject sinu­soidal, lin­ear, and qua­drat­ic fits to the sen­tence com­pre­hen­sion per­for­mance across the time lags. We could show that the sinu­soidal fit described the mod­u­la­tion of sen­tence com­pre­hen­sion best. Impor­tant­ly, the aver­age fre­quen­cy of the sinu­soidal fit was 5.12 Hz, cor­re­spond­ing to the peaks of the ampli­tude spec­trum of the stim­u­lat­ed envelopes. This find­ing was sup­port­ed by a sig­nif­i­cant 5-Hz peak in the aver­age pow­er spec­trum of indi­vid­ual per­for­mance time series. Alto­geth­er, enve­lope tACS mod­u­lates intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty of speech in noise, pre­sum­ably by enhanc­ing and dis­rupt­ing (time lag with in- or out-of-phase stim­u­la­tion, respec­tive­ly) cor­ti­cal entrain­ment to the speech enve­lope in audi­to­ry cor­tex.

17. January 2018 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Cortex, Auditory Neuroscience, Brain stimulation, Clinical relevance, Degraded Acoustics, Hearing Loss, Neural Oscillations, Neural Phase, Papers, Psychology, Speech | Comments Off on New paper in press with the Old­en­burg brain-stim­u­la­tion crew!