The Neil Squire Foundation (NSF) is a Canadian nonprofit organization whose purpose is to create opportunities for independence for individuals who have significant physical disabilities. Over the last ten years, our team in partnership with researchers at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the University of British Columbia, has been working to develop a direct brain-controlled switch for individuals with significant physical disabilities. The NSF Brain Interface Project primarily focuses on the development of brain-computer interface switch technologies for intermittent (or asynchronous) control in natural environments. That is, technologies that will work when the user intends control but also remains in a stable off state when there is no intent to control. A prototype of such a switch has successfully been developed. This switch has demonstrated classification accuracies greater than 94%. The initial results are promising, but further research is required to improve switch accuracies and reliability and to test these switch technologies over a larger population of users and operating conditions. This paper provides an overview of the NSF brain-switch technologies and details our approach to future work in this area., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Manuscript received June 20, 2002; revised January 22, 2003.
Axonal plasticity in the adult spinal cord is governed by intrinsic neuronal growth potential and by extracellular cues. The p75 receptor (p75(NTR)) binds growth-promoting neurotrophins (NTs) as well as the common receptor for growth-inhibiting myelin-derived proteins (the Nogo receptor) and so is well situated to gauge the balance of positive and negative influences on axonal plasticity. Using transgenic mice lacking the extracellular NT-binding domain of p75(NTR) (p75-/- mice), we have examined the influence of p75(NTR) on changes in the density of primary afferent (calcitonin gene-related peptide-expressing) and descending monoaminergic (serotonin- and tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing) projections to the dorsal horn after dorsal rhizotomy, with and without concomitant application of exogenous nerve growth factor and NT-3. We found that, in intact p75-/- mice, the axon density of all populations was equal to or less than that in wild-type mice but that rhizotomy-induced intraspinal sprouting was significantly augmented. Monoaminergic axon sprouting was enhanced in both nerve growth factor- and NT-3-treated p75-/- mice compared with similarly treated wild-type mice. Primary afferent sprouting was particularly robust in NT-3-treated p75-/- mice. These in vivo results illustrate the interactions of p75(NTR) with NTs, with their respective tropomyosin-related kinase receptors and with inhibitory myelin-derived molecules. Our findings illustrate the pivotal role of p75(NTR) in spinal axonal plasticity and identify it as a potential therapeutic target for spinal cord injury., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 14 August 2004; Revised 7 October 2004; Accepted 25 October 2004.
A new approach to design a dynamic model of genes with multiple autonomous regulatory modules by evolutionary computations is proposed. The approach is based on Genetic Algorithms (GA), with new crossover operators especially designed for these purposes. The new operators use local homology between parental strings to preserve building blocks found by the algorithm. The approach exploits the subbasin-portal architecture of the fitness functions suitable for this kind of evolutionary modeling. This architecture is significant for Royal Road class fitness functions. Two real-life Systems Biology problems with such fitness functions are implemented here: evolution of the bacterial promoter rrnP1 and of the enhancer of the Drosophila even-skipped gene. The effectiveness of the approach compared to standard GA is demonstrated on several benchmark and reallife tasks., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
One avenue of research for partial restoration of function following spinal cord injury is the use of neural prostheses, an example of which is functional electrical stimulation (FES) devices for motor functions. Neural prostheses may also be useful for the extraction of sensory information directly from the nervous system. We suggest the spinal cord as a possible site for the detection of peripheral sensory information from neural activity alone. Acute multichannel extracellular recordings were used to extract neural spike activity elicited from peripheral sensations from the spinal cords of rats. To test the recording method and classification potential, eight classes of sensory events were recorded consisting of electrical stimulation of seven locations on rat forepaws, and another class of data during which no stimulus was present. A dual-stage classification scheme using principal component analysis and k-Means clustering was devised to classify the sensory events during single trials. The eight tasks were correctly identified at a mean accuracy of 96%. Thus, we have shown the methodology to detect and classify peripheral sensory information from multichannel recordings of the spinal cord. These methods may be useful, for example, in a closed-loop FES for restoration of hand grasp., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Manuscript received October 24, 2005; revised February 25, 2006.
A single-laboratory validation (SLV) was conducted on an HPLC method for the detection and quantification of aloin A and aloin B in Aloe vera raw materials and finished products. An extraction procedure using sonication with an acidified solvent was used for solid test materials while liquid test materials only required dilution, if necessary, prior to filtration and analysis. Separation was achieved using a fused core C18 column in 18 min under isocratic elution conditions allowing for a single analyte (aloin A) calibration curve to quantify both aloins. Adequate chromatographic resolution (Rs ≥ 1) was achieved for aloin A and aloin B. The calibration curves for aloin A exhibited coefficients of determination (r(2)) of ≥ 99.9% over the linear range of 0.3-50 μg/mL. The LOD values were 0.092 and 0.087 μg/mL, and LOQ 0.23 and 0.21 μg/mL for aloin A and aloin B, respectively. Repeatability studies were performed on nine test materials on each of 3 separate days, with five of the test materials determined to be above the LOQ having repeatability RSD (RSDr) values ranging from 0.61 to 6.30%. Method accuracy was determined through a spike recovery study on both liquid and solid matrixes at three different levels: low, medium, and high. For both aloins, the recovery in the liquid matrix ranged from 92.7 to 106.3% with an RSDr of 0.15 to 4.30%, while for the solid matrix, the recovery ranged from 84.4 to 108.9% with an RSDr of 0.23 to 3.84%. Based on the results of the SLV study, it is recommended that this method be evaluated for reproducibility through a collaborative study., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received January 27, 2013; Accepted by AP April 10, 2014.
A single-laboratory validation study was conducted on an HPLC method for the detection and quantification of cyanidin-3-O-galactoside (C3Ga), cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (C3GI), cyanidin-3-O-arabinoside (C3Ar), peonidin-3-O-galactoside (P3Ga), and peonidin-3-O-arabinoside (P3Ar) in cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) raw material and finished products. An extraction procedure using a combination of sonication and shaking with acidified methanol was optimized for all five anthocyanins in freeze-dried cranberry fruit and finished products (commercial extract powder, juice, and juice cocktail). Final extract solutions were analyzed by HPLC using a C18 RP column. Calibration curves for all anthocyanin concentrations had correlation coefficients (r2) of > or = 99.8%. The method detection limits for C3Ga, C3Gl, C3Ar, P3Ga, and P3Ar were estimated to be 0.018, 0.016, 0.006, 0.013, and 0.011 microg/mL, respectively. Separation was achieved with a chromatographic run time of 35 min using a binary mobile phase with gradient elution. Quantitative determination performed in triplicate on four test materials on each of 3 days (n = 12) resulted in RSD(r) from 1.77 to 3.31%. Analytical range, as defined by the calibration curves, was 0.57-36.53 microg/mL for C3Ga, 0.15-9.83 microg/mL for C3GI, 0.28-17.67 microg/mL for C3Ar, 1.01-64.71 microg/mL for P3Ga, and 0.42-27.14 microg/mL for P3Ar. For solid materials prepared by the described method, this translates to 0.06-3.65 mglg for C3Ga, 0.02-0.98 mg/g for C3Gl, 0.03-1.77 mg/g for C3Ar, 0.10-6.47 mg/g for P3Ga, and 0.04-2.71 mg/g for P3Ar., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received August 5, 2010; Accepted by AP October 27, 2010.
A single-laboratory validation study was conducted for the quantification of Rg1, Re, Rb1, Rc, Rb2, and Rd in Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) and North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) raw materials and finished products by RP-HPLC. The extraction with aqueous methanol was optimized for whole root, powdered extract, and finished product (raw, tablet, and capsule matrixes) test articles. Root materials were treated with base to hydrolyze acidic malonyl ginsenosides to their neutral counterparts. Calibration curves for each ginsenoside were linear over the following ranges (microg/g): 5-394 for Rg1, 15-1188 for Re, 39-2981 for Rb1, 6-499 for Rc, 5-406 for Rb2, and 7-600 for Rd, all having a coefficient of determination (r2) of > or = 99.5%. The LOD for Rg1, Re, Rb1, Rc, Rb2, and Rd was determined to be 1.06, 1.25, 2.19, 1.24, 1.27, and 1.70 microg/mL, respectively. Quantitative determinations performed with eight test materials by two analysts over 3 days (n = 12) resulted in RSDr values that ranged from 1.11 to 7.61%., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received May 10, 2011; Accepted by AP May 11, 2011.
An interlaboratory study was conducted on an HPLC method with UV absorbance detection, previously validated using AOAC single-laboratory validation guidelines, for the determination of the six major ginsenosides (Rg1, Re, Rb1, Rc, Rb2, and Rd) in Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer and Panax quinquefolius L. root materials, extracts, and finished products. Fourteen participating laboratories analyzed five test materials (P. ginseng whole root, P. ginseng powdered extract, P. quinquefolius whole root, P. quinquefolius powdered extract, and P. ginseng powdered extract spiked in a matrix blank) as blind duplicates, and two test materials (P. ginseng powdered whole root tablet and P. quinquefolius powdered extract hard-filled capsule) as single samples. Due to the variability of the ginsenosides (low level concentration of Rb2 in P. quinquefolius raw materials and in P. ginseng spiked matrix blanks, and the possibility of incomplete hydrolysis of the finished products during processing), it was deemed more applicable to analyze total ginsenosides rather than individual ones. Outliers were evaluated and omitted using the Cochran's test and single and double Grubbs' tests. The reproducibility RSD (RSD(R)) for the blind duplicate samples ranged from 4.38 to 5.39%, with reproducibility Horwitz Ratio (HorRat(R)) values ranging from 1.5 to 1.9. For the single replicate samples, the data sets were evaluated solely by their repeatability HorRat (HorRat(r)), which were 2.9 and 3.5 for the capsule and tablet samples, respectively. Based on these results, the method is recommended for AOAC Official First Action for the determination of total ginsenosides in P. ginseng and P. quinquefolius root materials and powdered extracts., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
A multilaboratory collaborative study was conducted on a high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method utilizing UV detection, previously validated using AOAC single-laboratory validation guidelines for determination of hydrastine and berberine in goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) raw materials, extracts, and dietary supplements at levels ranging from 0.4 to 6% (w/w). Nine collaborating laboratories determined the hydrastine and berberine content in 8 blind samples. Sample materials included powdered botanical raw materials, whole root material, and 4 finished product dietary supplements containing either goldenseal powdered root material or extract. The materials were extracted with an acidified water and acetonitrile solution. HPLC analyses of the extracts were performed on a C18 column using UV detection at 230 nm. Results for powdered root material and capsule products ranged from about 0.2% (w/w) for each alkaloid to about 4% (w/w) for each alkaloid. Liquid tincture results were approximately 4000-5000 microg/mL for each alkaloid. Reproducibility relative standard deviations (RSDR) for hydrastine ranged from 2.68 to 6.65%, with HorRat values ranging from 0.77 to 1.89. RSDR for berberine ranged from 5.66 to 7.68%, with HorRat values ranging from 1.32 to 2.12. All finished products containing goldenseal extract yielded HorRat values <2.0. Based on these results, the method is recommended for Official First Action for determination of hydrastine and berberine in goldenseal raw materials and dietary supplement finished products containing powdered goldenseal and goldenseal extract., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
A method previously validated to determine caftaric acid, chlorogenic acid, cynarin, echinacoside, and cichoric acid in echinacea raw materials has been successfully applied to dry extract and liquid tincture products in response to North American consumer needs. Single-laboratory validation was used to assess the repeatability, accuracy, selectivity, LOD, LOQ, analyte stability (ruggedness), and linearity of the method, with emphasis on finished products. Repeatability precision for each phenolic compound was between 1.04 and 5.65% RSD, with HorRat values between 0.30 and 1.39 for raw and dry extract finished products. HorRat values for tinctures were between 0.09 and 1.10. Accuracy of the method was determined through spike recovery studies. Recovery of each compound from raw material negative control (ginseng) was between 90 and 114%, while recovery from the finished product negative control (maltodextrin and magnesium stearate) was between 97 and 103%. A study was conducted to determine if cichoric acid, a major phenolic component of Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench and E. angustifolia DC, degrades during sample preparation (extraction) and HPLC analysis. No significant degradation was observed over an extended testing period using the validated method., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) is a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are used in herbal formulations because they contain indole alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxy (7-OH) mitragynine. An HPLC method was developed, optimized, and validated using single-laboratory validation guidelines to quantify mitragynine in kratom raw materials and finished products. The method optimization evaluated several extraction parameters including solvent type, solvent volume, time, and extraction method. The separation of the mitragynine alkaloids was achieved in 18 min with a fused-core C18 EVO column using gradient separation with ammonium bicarbonate (pH 9.5) and acetonitrile. The calibration range for mitragynine was 1.0–500 μg/mL with correlation coefficients of ≥99.9% throughout method development and validation. The method detection limit and LOQ were 0.2 and 0.6 μg/mL, respectively for mitragynine. Eight test samples were obtained to evaluate method repeatability. RSDr ranged from 0.4 to 1.0%, whereas intermediate precision ranged from 3.7 to 7.3%, with HorRat values from 0.68 to 1.96. 7-OH mitragynine was below the LOQ for all samples, therefore, spikes repeatability sample RSD values were <1%. The validation data presented meet the Standard Method Performance Requirements as specified by the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Kratom Working Group., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received July 12, 2016; Accepted by AP September 12, 2016.
A collaborative study was conducted to evaluate an HPLC method for determining phenolic compounds in Echinacea spp. raw materials, powdered extracts, and tinctures. Eleven collaborating laboratories received three practice samples representing each matrix type, phenolic reference standards, eight test samples as blind duplicates, the validated analytical method, and instructions. Test samples included two raw materials, four extracts (including one in combination with astragalus and reishi), one ethanolic tincture in combination with goldenseal, and one glycerite tincture. Each material was extracted with a 60% methanol aqueous solution, separated on a C18 column, and detected at 330 nm. Results reported by laboratories for total phenolics in Echinacea roots, aerial parts, and extracts ranged from 9.5 to 62.9 mg/g with RSDR ranging from 3.64 and 7.95% and Horwitz ratio (HorRat) values ranging from 1.06 to 2.01. Total phenolics in the ethanolic tincture ranged from 4837 to 5962 μg/mL, with an RSDR of 6.35% and a HorRat value of 1.45. The glycerite tincture showed poor interlaboratory precision with a HorRat value of 3.32, an RSDR of 21.8%, and reported total phenolic values ranging from 257 to 539 μg/mL., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received May 4, 2016; Accepted by AP May 25, 2016.