What is it about?

Like a pacemaker for the heart, nerve stimulation devices are implanted in the body and programmed to send targeted pulses of electricity into nerves. These electrical pulses can initiate or suppress signals in the nerve, changing the regulation of organ functions to treat disease. Nerve stimulation is a promising alternative to drugs, but, like drugs, requires determination of the effective dose. This article describes an open-source software platform that automates modeling of electrical stimulation of nerves. The system can be used to determine the effect of the electrical dose on nerve stimulation.

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Why is it important?

The open-source platform allows users to predict how specific nerves respond to different parameters of electrical stimulation. The platform allows simple creation of accurate models of new electrical stimulation therapies for a variety of diseases, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.


ASCENT, or Automated Simulations to Characterize Electrical Nerve Thresholds, makes modeling nerve stimulation more accessible, reproducible, and efficient. It allows researchers to define a variety of information, like nerve geometry, fiber models, electrode design, and stimulation waveforms, and then simulate a nerve’s response to the electrical pulses. ASCENT is an open-source project and is free for users to access, as part of the National Institutes of Health Common Fund’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions program (SPARC).

Warren Grill
Duke University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: ASCENT (Automated Simulations to Characterize Electrical Nerve Thresholds): A pipeline for sample-specific computational modeling of electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves, PLoS Computational Biology, September 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009285.
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