Do Preterm Neonates Perceive missing stimuli in a regular Tactile Sequence? A Diffuse Correlation Spectroscopy Study

December 14th, 2017 VICTORIA DUMONT Université de Caen Normandie

An essential function of our brain is to identify temporal structures in the environment and use them to form predictions. They are both necessary to optimize behavioral responses; the use of attentional and energetic resources and also form the basis of cognitive functions and social interactions.

Temporal predictions have been recently described in 6 months old infants and subjects as young as 2 months old detect a small inter-stimulus intervals deviation. Our ability to form predictions seems to appear very early, but its development is not known. We only know that related skills are present at birth. Our aim was to investigate the ability of preterm neonates to use the inter-stimulus regularity to form sensory predictions. We addressed this issue in the tactile modality as it is the earliest to develop, and a critical sensory input in newborns for both object processing and social interactions. Diffuse Correlation Spectroscopy (DCS) was used to continuously monitor changes in blood flow in the cortical tissues during stimulation. A miniature probe was maintained over the subject’s contralateral primary somatosensory cortex and DCS intensity auto-correlation curves acquired sequentially at 1 Hz were fitted to the normalized intensity temporal auto-correlation function to obtain a relative blood flow index.

Preliminary results show that tactile stimuli are associated with a hemodynamic response in the primary somatosensory cortex.

This study provides important insights into the cerebral perception of non-social tactile stimuli by premature newborns and their ability to identify the temporal structure of this tactile information to generate sensory prediction.

Thursday, December 14, 2017, 15:00. ICFO’s Seminar Room

Hosted by Prof. Turgut Durduran