A measure of the blink reflex to parametric variation of mechanical stimulation of the trigeminal nerve.

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    • Abstract:
      The primary goal of this study was to develop a parametric model that relates variation in stimulation of the trigeminal nerve to properties of the blink response. We measured blink responses in 17 healthy, adult participants to air puffs directed at the lateral canthus of the eye at five different, log‐spaced intensities (3.5–60 PSI). Lid position over time was decomposed into amplitude and velocity components. We found that blink amplitude was systematically related to log stimulus intensity, with the relationship well described by a sigmoidal function. The parameters of the model fit correspond to the slope of the function and the stimulus intensity required to produce half of a maximal blink response (the half‐response threshold). There was a reliable increase in the half‐response threshold for the contralateral as compared to the ipsilateral blink response. This increase was consistent across participants despite substantial individual differences in the half‐response threshold and slope parameters of the overall sensitivity function, suggesting that the laterality effect arises in the neural circuit subsequent to individual differences in sensitivity. Overall, we find that graded mechanical stimulation of the somatosensory trigeminal afferents elicits a graded response that is well described by a simple parametric model. We discuss the application of parametric measurements of the blink response to the detection of group differences in trigeminal sensitivity. There has been limited study of how variation in stimulus intensity influences the cutaneous blink response. We describe how variation in the intensity of an air puff stimulus relates to the amplitude of the blink response using a two‐parameter model. The parameters of the model capture individual differences in response, which may be used in future studies to identify population differences in trigeminal sensitivity. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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