Cortical Habituation of Acoustic Startle Reflex
The study of acoustic startle reflexes (ASR) has recently shown promising potential in augmenting the recovery of voluntary movement in patients who undergo neuro-rehabilitation. However, these ASRs have been associated with the decrease or inhibition of startle responses over successive stimulation, known as habituation. This study hypothesizes an acoustic startle pathway that involves the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is inhibiting the ASR. To do this investigation, three paradigms have been developed in conjunction with EEG recordings. Independent component analysis has been implemented to minimize the intrinsic motion artifacts in the acquired data. The results show possible anti-correlation between the EMG startle signal and the activity located along the frontal midline suggesting possible habituation. However, no solid conclusion can be made whether the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is part of the habituation process in the acoustic startle pathway.