Scientific publications

Potentials evoked by chirp-modulated tones: a new technique to evaluate oscillatory activity in the auditory pathway

Mar 1, 2004 | Magazine: Clinical Neurophysiology

Artieda J., Valencia M., Alegre M., Olaziregi O., Urrestarazu E., Iriarte J.

Steady-state potentials are oscillatory responses generated by a rhythmic stimulation of a sensory pathway. The frequency of the response, which follows the frequency of stimulation, is maximal at a stimulus rate of 40 Hz for auditory stimuli. The exact cause of these maximal responses is not known, although some authors have suggested that they might be related to the 'working frequency' of the auditory cortex. Testing of the responses to different frequencies of stimulation may be lengthy if a single frequency is studied at a time. Our aim was to develop a fast technique to explore the oscillatory response to auditory stimuli, using a tone modulated in amplitude by a sinusoid whose frequency increases linearly in frequency ('chirp') from 1 to 120 Hz.

Time-frequency transforms were used for the analysis of the evoked responses in 10 subjects. Also, we analyzed whether the peaks in these responses were due to increases of amplitude or to phase-locking phenomena, using single-sweep time-frequency transforms and inter-trial phase analysis.

The pattern observed in the time-frequency transform of the chirp-evoked potential was very similar in all subjects: a diagonal band of energy was observed, corresponding to the frequency of modulation at each time instant. Two components were present in the band, one around 45 Hz (30-60 Hz) and a smaller one between 80 and 120 Hz. Inter-trial phase analysis showed that these components were mainly due to phase locking phenomena.

A simultaneous testing of the amplitude-modulation-following oscillatory responses to auditory stimulation is feasible using a tone modulated in amplitude at increasing frequencies. The maximal energies found at stimulation frequencies around 40 Hz are probably due to increased phase-locking of the individual responses.

CITATION   Clin Neurophysiol. 2004 Mar;115(3):699-709