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ErasmusBlink: A low cost and easy to use measurement system for medical research with diagnostic potential

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ErasmusBlink (ErasmusBlink: A low cost and easy to use measurement system for medical research with diagnostic potential)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

The ErasmusBlink project has generated new sales of ErasmusBlink systems to various famous academic partners across the world. These include for example Princeton University in the USA and Lund University in Sweden. In Princeton, we sold systems for doing eyeblink conditioning in rodents as well as in young children. They are now combining it with optical imaging of the learning cerebellum in awake mice. This research has revealed a broad role for cerebellum as a general processor of unexpected events. They are among the first in the world to make extensive use of multiphoton fluorescence microscopy to probe what cerebellar circuits do during awake conditioning as done with the ErasmusBlink system (Giovannucci et al., 2017). In a central recent finding, external and internal events turned out to be encoded by overlapping populations of Purkinje cells in a behavioral state-dependent manner (as detected by our system), in the form of synchronous complex spiking. They have also made an analogous observation in granule cells and molecular layer interneurons. In short, their laboratory has implemented the ErasmusBlink head-fixed recording methods for classical eyeblink conditioning in mice, achieving well-timed responses, learning over a time course of days, and consistency from animal to animal. So head-fixed imaging was applicable with this system for eyeblink conditioning. With regard to their use of ErasmusBlink for young children they are largely taking advantage of the representations of traits for autism spectrum disorder in eyeblink traces. One of the most important unanswered questions in autism research today is the identity of the neural circuit(s) responsible for specific aspects of autistic behavior, including the level of flexibility during adaptations. Because of our system these correlations with circuit activity can now be made, because also in human it allows for combining the behavioral research with EEG, fMRI or ultrasound recordings. Accumulating evidence suggests that cerebellar abnormalities may play an ongoing role in, or even act as a developmental cause of the core social and cognitive deficits experienced by autistic children. In Lund, the academics focus on different types of questions for both animal and human research; these questions are more global. For example, in genetic animal models with defined backgrounds they use the ErasmusBlink system to study the impact of food ingredients like the level of caffeine on cerebellar learning behavior (Rasmussen et al., 2018). Likewise, in human subjects they address general epidemiological questions like how do cerebellum- and non-cerebellum dependent forms of learning relate to age and sex (Löwgren et al., 2017). The Princeton and Lund illustrations are just two examples, which show the wide variety of applications of ErasmusBlink, ranging from rather specific to more general usages, but there are many more experimental questions and approaches in between, for which our system can be of value. At the technical level, it should be highlighted that the high speed video recording component of ErasmusBlink is also compatible with fully automated analysis using machine learning algorithms (convolution neural networks; see e.g. Narain et al., 2018). All these great advances are in line with the marketing research on the ErasmusBlink system. This has revealed that our EBC system is highly popular and affordable if the quality of the product is taken into account (see report by Bello holding BV).

1) Rasmussen et al., 2018 Behav Brain Res
2) Löwgren et al., 2017 PLoS One
3) Narain et al., 2018 Nat Communications
4) Giovannucci et al., 2017 Nat Neurscience