Summary: An implantable, wireless brain-computer interface device can help improve the functional independence of those living with paralysis, a new study reports.
Researchers demonstrated the success of a fully implantable wireless medical device called a stentrode brain-computer interface designed to improve functional independence in patients with severe paralysis. The abstract was presented today at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery’s (SNIS) 17th Annual Meeting.
The study, Motor Neuroprosthesis Implanted using Cerebral Venography Improves Activities of Daily Living in Severe Paralysis, is the first-in-human examination of the stentrode, an implantable brain- computer interface, conducted at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. The first patient to receive the device was a 75-year-old man with severe paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who was totally dependent on his wife for care.
“The implantation procedure combined functional MRI coregistration with angiography to precisely place the stentrode over the motor cortex,” said Professor Peter Mitchell, principal investigator and leader of the operative team.
Following implantation of the device, the patient increased independence and could perform essential activities, such as text messaging, online shopping and managing his finances.
“The results in this first human trial show promise that this device may restore voluntary motor function of personal computers and devices for patients with severe paralysis due to brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve or muscle dysfunction,” said Dr. Thomas Oxley, lead author of the study and Associate Professor in the Vascular Bionics Laboratory at the University of Melbourne. “We need to conduct additional research to confirm our preliminary results and prove the validity of this ground-breaking technology.”
The stentrode brain-computer interface translates brain activity associated with attempted movements and digitally converts thoughts into command functions of external devices. The data shows successful control of devices that improve instrumental activities of daily living, which can include texting, emailing, online shopping and banking.
About this neurology and neurotech research article
Source: SNIS Contacts: Maria Enie – SNIS Image Source: The image is in the public domain.
Sensorimotor Peak Alpha Frequency Is a Reliable Biomarker of Prolonged Pain Sensitivity
Previous research has observed that the speed of alpha band oscillations (8–12 Hz range) recorded during resting electroencephalography is slowed in chronic pain patients. While this slowing may reflect pathological changes that occur during the chronification of pain, an alternative explanation is that healthy individuals with slower alpha oscillations are more sensitive to prolonged pain, and by extension, more susceptible to developing chronic pain. To test this hypothesis, we examined the relationship between the pain-free, resting alpha oscillation speed of healthy individuals and their sensitivity to two models of prolonged pain, Phasic Heat Pain and Capsaicin Heat Pain, at two visits separated by 8 weeks on average (n = 61 Visit 1, n = 46 Visit 2). We observed that the speed of an individual’s pain-free alpha oscillations was negatively correlated with sensitivity to both models and that this relationship was reliable across short (minutes) and long (weeks) timescales. Furthermore, the speed of pain-free alpha oscillations can successfully identify the most pain sensitive individuals, which we validated on data from a separate, independent study. These results suggest that alpha oscillation speed is a reliable biomarker of prolonged pain sensitivity with potential for prospectively identifying pain sensitivity in the clinic.