Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering

Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor

Robert Bruce Szlavik

Abstract

In some instances neuropathies can be diagnosed through a conduction velocity test. However, not all neuropathies can be classified using this method. Gaining an understanding of how the stimulus level varies for different fiber sizes at different fiber depths within a conductive medium will provide useful information for simulation studies.

Following a two-step approach using COMSOL and MATLAB, a simulation was implemented to investigate the stimulus necessary to activate different sized fibers at different depths. In this two-step approach, COMSOL was used to describe the voltage profile that would be present within a conductive medium after a stimulus was applied. This voltage profile could then be analyzed using a program written in MATLAB to determine if the applied stimulus was sufficient to activate a given fiber. The analysis was performed using a stimulus method using a constant DC source. Two finite element models were also used, one using a homogeneous medium and the other inhomogeneous.

A three dimensional plot was created to describe the effect of both the depth and diameter of a fiber on the required stimulus for fiber activation. From this plot, an equation was fit to the data to represent the activation function of a nerve fiber at various diameters and depths.

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