Is somatosensory electrical stimulation effective in relieving spasticity? A systematic review

Marco Antonio Cavalcanti Garcia and Claudia Domingues Vargas

Spasticity is a sensorimotor disorder widely recognized as one of the features that contribute to patients’ disability. Transcutaneous electric neural stimulation (TENS/SES) has been adopted in spasticity rehabilitation as an alternative to pharmacological agents. Although previous studies have reported clinical benefits of TENS/SES in relieving spasticity, there is no clarity on how and whether this therapeutic modality affects specific neural circuitries. Thus, this systematic review aimed to verify the efficacy of TENS/SES in the control of spasticity and its consequences in spinal and corticospinal excitability. This study was carried out according to PRISMA recommendations using SCOPUS, PubMed, BVS, Google Scholar and BASE databases screening, which provided 483 references. Six additional records were found from other sources. All these records were submitted to a filtering process following the eligibility criteria, and 44 studies were selected for further analysis. Ten were replicas. Consequently, 34 studies were read in full with the aim of checking their eligibility criterion, which resulted in 10 manuscripts for qualitative synthesis. Even though they evaluated the effects of TENS/SES both at the spinal and/or corticospinal levels, the electrophysiological results seem to be inconsistent, corroborating the lack of agreement between them and with clinical outcomes.

The whole paper is available here.

Social media as a NeuroMat dissemination strategy for people with brachial plexus injuries

The NeuroMat dissemination team has launched a project to contribute actively on social media communities with patients, caregivers and health professionals related to traumatic brachial plexus injuries. This project is developed under the scope of NeuroMat's initiative "Action for Brachial Plexus Injury" - ABRAÇO and is funded by a scientific journalism fellowship by FAPESP. The grantee is Matheus Cornely Sayão; supervisors are Cláudia Domingues Vargas and Fernando J. Paixão, respectively coordinator of ABRAÇO and NeuroMat dissemination coordinator.

Stochastic chains with unbounded memory applied in neuroscience

Ricardo Felipe Ferreira is a mathematician who, during his doctoral research, was guided by the RIDC NeuroMat associated investigator Alexsandro Giacomo Grimbert Gallo (UFSCar). During the first semester of 2019, Ferreira defended his doctoral thesis, in which NeuroMat research is a highlight.

Positions for Postdoctoral Researchers

The Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (NeuroMat), hosted by the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and funded by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation), is offering several postdoctoral fellowships for recent PhDs with outstanding research potential.

Variance-Based Extragradient Methods with Line Search for Stochastic Variational Inequalities

Alfredo N. Iusem, Alejandro Jofré, Roberto I. Oliveira, and Philip Thompson

In this paper, we propose dynamic sampled stochastic approximated (DS-SA) extragradient methods for stochastic variational inequalities (SVIs) that are robust with respect to an unknown Lipschitz constant $L$. We propose, to the best of our knowledge, the first provably convergent robust SA method with variance reduction, either for SVIs or stochastic optimization, assuming just an unbiased stochastic oracle within a large sample regime. This widens the applicability and improves, up to constants, the desired efficient acceleration of previous variance reduction methods, all of which still assume knowledge of $L$ (and, hence, are not robust against its estimate). Precisely, compared to the iteration and oracle complexities of $\mathcal{O}(\epsilon^{-2})$ of previous robust methods with a small stepsize policy, our robust method uses a DS-SA line search scheme obtaining the faster iteration complexity of $\mathcal{O}(\epsilon^{-1})$ with oracle complexity of $(\ln L)\mathcal{O}(d\epsilon^{-2})$ (up to log factors on $\epsilon^{-1}$) for a $d$-dimensional space. This matches, up to constants, the sample complexity of the sample average approximation estimator which does not assume additional problem information (such as $L$). Differently from previous robust methods for ill-conditioned problems, we allow an unbounded feasible set and an oracle with multiplicative noise (MN) whose variance is not necessarily uniformly bounded. These properties are appreciated in our complexity estimates which depend only on $L$ and local variances or fourth moments at solutions. The robustness and variance reduction properties of our DS-SA line search scheme come at the expense of nonmartingale-like dependencies (NMDs) due to the needed inner statistical estimation of a lower bound for $L$. In order to handle an NMD and an MN, our proofs rely on a novel iterative localization argument based on empirical process theory.

The whole paper is available here.

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