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Concept - Bridging the gap of injury with technology

The idea of stopping pain at the sight of the pain versus taking a pain medication that effects the entire body is a concept that resonates with many. The field of neuroprosthetics has been growing rapidly over the past 20 years. From the pacemaker and replacement joints to the cohlear implant for restoration of hearing, the notion of an implantable medical device is seen in many aspects of medical care. lineFor those with a neurological impairment like spinal cord injury or stroke, the application of neurotechnology means a permanent means with which to control a paralyzed muscle or organ. The field of neuroprosthetics includes many new companies and innovative research groups. Read this for more information.

Technology consists of an implantable pulse generator (ipg)ipg powered either via an internal rechargable battery or external through a RF coupling. The ipg is then connected to a series of electrodes that are placed onto the desired locations. electrodesControl of of the ipg can occur through am internal or external mechanism. In the case of a hand neuroprosthesis, a reading electrode is placed onto a muscle and listens for a command from the user. When the user contracts this muscle, the electrode senses the activity and uses it to control the ipg. In the case of a standing system, an external control switch is used. The user activates the ipg by pressing a mechanical switch mounted in a convenient location.

 

 

Some examples include:

Synapse Biomedical

BrainGate

Complete listing at NeuroTech Network

Common Applications of NeuroTechnology

Leading Research Summary

Spinal Cord Injury

Injuries to the spinal cord interfere with electrical signals between the brain and the muscles, resulting in paralysis below the level of injury. Restoration of limb function as well as regulation of organ function are the main application of FES, although FES is also used for treatment of pain, pressure, sore prevention, etc.

Some examples of FES applications involve the use of Neuroprostheses that allow people with paraplegia to walk, stand, restore hand grasp function in people with quadriplegia, or restore bowel and bladder function.]

Stroke

FES is commonly used in foot drop neuroprosthetic devices.

In the acute stage of stoke recovery, the use of cyclic electrical stimulation has been seen to increase the isometric strength of wrist extensors. In order to increase strength of wrist extensors, there must be a degree of motor function at the wrist spared following the stroke and have significant hemiplegia. Patients who will elicit benefits of cyclic electrical stimulation of the wrist extensors must be highly motivated to follow through with treatment, After 8 weeks of electrical stimulation, an increase in grip strength can be apparent. Many scales, which assess the level of disability of the upper extremities following a stroke, use grip strength as a common item. Therefore, increasing strength of wrist extensors will decrease the level of upper extremity disability.

Patients with hemiplegia following a stroke commonly experience shoulder pain and subluxation; both of which will interfere with the rehabilitation process. Functional electrical stimulation has been found to be effective for the management of pain and reduction of shoulder subluxation, as well as accelerating the degree and rate of motor recovery. Furthermore, the benefits of FES are maintained over time; research has demonstrated that the benefits are maintained for at least 24 months