Brain-machine interfaces offer improved options for prosthetics and treatments after injury

Nov 16, 2010

Two experimental brain-machine technologies — deep brain stimulation coupled with physical therapy and a thought-controlled computer system—may offer new therapies for people with stroke and brain injuries, new human research shows. In addition, an animal study shows a new artificial retina may restore vision better than existing prosthetics.

The findings were announced today at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news on science and health.

is an emerging field of neuroscience that aims to translate basic neuroscience research on how the brain packages and processes information to develop devices that help people regain functions lost to disease or injury.

Today's new findings show that:

  • Researchers have developed a faster, more accurate way to control cursors with thoughts alone. This scientific advance gives "real-time" feedback of brain activity and may provide more therapeutic options to people with brain injuries or syndromes that limit communication abilities (Anna Rose Childress, PhD, abstract 887.27, see attached summary).
  • Brain stimulation and physical therapy restores the use of paralyzed limbs — at least temporarily — in people recovering from a stroke. Few people recover completely after a stroke, and the new method may help in developing therapies to increase range of motion in affected limbs (Satoko Koganemaru, MD, PhD, abstract 898.5, see attached summary).
  • Scientists have constructed an artificial retina that incorporates the signals the eye normally sends to the brain. The new prosthetic may be capable of reproducing normal vision more effectively than existing technologies (Sheila Nirenberg, PhD, abstract 20.1, see attached summary).
"Harnessing the brain's ability to process, decode, and utilize information has untold therapeutic possibilities," said press conference moderator Miguel A. Nicolelis, MD, PhD, of Duke University and an expert in neurotechnology and brain-computer interfaces. "Today's research advances clearly demonstrate neuroscience's ability to expand our understanding of how the brain works, and translate that knowledge into better treatments, therapies, and technologies."

Explore further: Sport can help multiple sclerosis patients

More information: www.sfn.org/am2010/press/OmniP… s/data/press/007.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Studies expand oxytocin's role beyond 'cuddle hormone'

Nov 15, 2010

New human research suggests the chemical oxytocin — dubbed the "cuddle hormone" because of its importance in bonding between romantic partners and mothers and children — also influences feelings of well-being and ...

Animal studies suggest new paths to treating depression

Nov 16, 2010

New animal research has identified factors, such as the stress response and immune system, that may play important roles in depression. Scientists have also found that the regulation of nerve cell signals influences depression ...

Recommended for you

Sport can help multiple sclerosis patients

2 hours ago

A study developed at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (Spain) has preliminarily concluded that people with multiple sclerosis may reduce perceived fatigue and increase mobility through a series of ...

Obama's BRAIN initiative gets more than $300 million

7 hours ago

President Barack Obama's initiative to study the brain and improve treatment of conditions like Alzheimer's and autism was given a boost Tuesday with the announcement of more than $300 million in funds.

US aims for traumatic brain injury clinical trial success

19 hours ago

An unprecedented, public-private partnership funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) is being launched to drive the development of better-run clinical trials and may lead to the first successful treatments for traumatic ...

User comments : 0