An Ultrastructural Model to Test Microburst Stimulation of Nerves
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Some patients that suffer from epilepsy may become refractory to pharmaceutical treatment. An option with these patients is vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy with neuro-cybernetic medical devices. The purpose of this research is two-fold: 1.) to determine if a recovery technique can be used with formalin-fixed samples of nerve tissue for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and 2.) to determine if there is an ultrastructural difference in tissue exposed to the neuro-cybernetic device. If successful, the study will reduce animal studies and expense by establishing a mechanism to perform retrospective TEM studies on formalin-fixed tissue. Additionally, TEM allows examination of specimens in much greater detail than light microscopy. Therefore, using TEM to compare ultrastructural differences in tissue that was exposed to the medical device and healthy tissue will help determine with precision if any damage is caused by the medical device. To complete these objectives, formalin-fixed vagus nerve tissue from goats that were exposed to the medical device is collected, recovered, evaluated by TEM, and compared to healthy traditionally fixed vagus nerve tissue. Results show that the recovery technique makes it possible to achieve quantitative data from formalin-fixed tissue samples. This method establishes a mechanism to execute retrospective TEM studies on formalin-fixed tissue, thereby reducing future animal studies. Results also show that there are some differences in goat nerve that has been exposed to the medical device. These subtle ultrastructural changes (potentially reversible) do not appear to have clinical impact.
Fish, Sara (2013). An Ultrastructural Model to Test Microburst Stimulation of Nerves. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from