Combining sudomotor nerve impulse estimation with fMRI to investigate the central sympathetic response to nausea

Sclocco R., Citi L., Garcia R. G., Cerutti S., Bianchi A. M., Kuo B., ...More

37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE-Engineering-in-Medicine-and-Biology-Society (EMBC), Milan, Italy, 25 - 29 August 2015, pp.4683-4686 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Milan
  • Country: Italy
  • Page Numbers: pp.4683-4686
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


The skin conductance (SC) signal is one of the most important non-invasive indirect measures of autonomic outflow. Several mathematical models have been proposed in the literature to characterize specific SC features. In this work, we present a method for the estimation of central control of sudomotor nerve impulse (SMI) function using SC. The method is based on a differential formulation decomposed into two first order differential equations. We validate our estimation framework by applying it on an experimental protocol where eleven motion sickness-prone subjects were exposed to a nauseogenic visual stimulus while SC and fMRI signals were recorded. Our results show an expected significant increase in the mean amplitude of SMI peaks during the highest reported nausea, as well as a decreasing trend during recovery, which was not evident for skin conductance level. Importantly, SMI/fMRI analysis found a negative association between SMI and fMRI signal in orbitofrontal, dorsolateral prefrontal, and posterior insula cortices, consistent with previous studies correlating brain fMRI and microneurographic signals.