Neuroprosthetic technology for individuals with spinal cord injury.
ABSTRACT Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in a loss of function and sensation below the level of the lesion. Neuroprosthetic technology has been developed to help restore motor and autonomic functions as well as to provide sensory feedback.
This paper provides an overview of neuroprosthetic technology that aims to address the priorities for functional restoration as defined by individuals with SCI. We describe neuroprostheses that are in various stages of preclinical development, clinical testing, and commercialization including functional electrical stimulators, epidural and intraspinal microstimulation, bladder neuroprosthesis, and cortical stimulation for restoring sensation. We also discuss neural recording technologies that may provide command or feedback signals for neuroprosthetic devices. Conclusion/clinical relevance: Neuroprostheses have begun to address the priorities of individuals with SCI, although there remains room for improvement. In addition to continued technological improvements, closing the loop between the technology and the user may help provide intuitive device control with high levels of performance.
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ABSTRACT: Traditional neuronal interfaces utilize metallic electrodes which in recent years have reached a plateau in terms of the ability to provide safe stimulation at high resolution or rather with high densities of microelectrodes with improved spatial selectivity. To achieve higher resolution it has become clear that reducing the size of electrodes is required to enable higher electrode counts from the implant device. The limitations of interfacing electrodes including low charge injection limits, mechanical mismatch and foreign body response can be addressed through the use of organic electrode coatings which typically provide a softer, more roughened surface to enable both improved charge transfer and lower mechanical mismatch with neural tissue. Coating electrodes with conductive polymers or carbon nanotubes offers a substantial increase in charge transfer area compared to conventional platinum electrodes. These organic conductors provide safe electrical stimulation of tissue while avoiding undesirable chemical reactions and cell damage. However, the mechanical properties of conductive polymers are not ideal, as they are quite brittle. Hydrogel polymers present a versatile coating option for electrodes as they can be chemically modified to provide a soft and conductive scaffold. However, the in vivo chronic inflammatory response of these conductive hydrogels remains unknown. A more recent approach proposes tissue engineering the electrode interface through the use of encapsulated neurons within hydrogel coatings. This approach may provide a method for activating tissue at the cellular scale, however, several technological challenges must be addressed to demonstrate feasibility of this innovative idea. The review focuses on the various organic coatings which have been investigated to improve neural interface electrodes.Frontiers in Neuroengineering 05/2014; 7:15. DOI:10.3389/fneng.2014.00015
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: In spite of extensive research, the progress toward a cure in spinal cord injury (SCI) is still elusive, which holds good for the cell- and stem cell-based therapies. We have critically analyzed seven known gray areas in SCI, indicating the specific arenas for research to improvise the outcome of cell-based therapies in SCI. Areas covered: The seven, specific known gray areas in SCI analyzed are: i) the gap between animal models and human victims; ii) uncertainty about the time, route and dosage of cells applied; iii) source of the most efficacious cells for therapy; iv) inability to address the vascular compromise during SCI; v) lack of non-invasive methodologies to track the transplanted cells; vi) need for scaffolds to retain the cells at the site of injury; and vii) physical and chemical stimuli that might be required for synapses formation yielding functional neurons. Expert opinion: Further research on scaffolds for retaining the transplanted cells at the lesion, chemical and physical stimuli that may help neurons become functional, a meta-analysis of timing of the cell therapy, mode of application and larger clinical studies are essential to improve the outcome.Expert opinion on biological therapy 03/2014; DOI:10.1517/14712598.2014.889676 · 3.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems have been developed to provide paralyzed individuals the ability to command the movements of an assistive device using only their brain activity. BCI systems are typically tested in a controlled laboratory environment were the user is focused solely on the brain-control task. However, for practical use in everyday life people must be able to use their brain-controlled device while mentally engaged with the cognitive responsibilities of daily activities and while compensating for any inherent dynamics of the device itself. BCIs that use electroencephalography (EEG) for movement control are often assumed to require significant mental effort, thus preventing users from thinking about anything else while using their BCI. This study tested the impact of cognitive load as well as speaking on the ability to use an EEG-based BCI. Six participants controlled the two-dimensional (2D) movements of a simulated neuroprosthesis-arm under three different levels of cognitive distraction. The two higher cognitive load conditions also required simultaneously speaking during BCI use. On average, movement performance declined during higher levels of cognitive distraction, but only by a limited amount. Movement completion time increased by 7.2%, the percentage of targets successfully acquired declined by 11%, and path efficiency declined by 8.6%. Only the decline in percentage of targets acquired and path efficiency were statistically significant (p < 0.05). People who have relatively good movement control of an EEG-based BCI may be able to speak and perform other cognitively engaging activities with only a minor drop in BCI-control performance.Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 12/2013; 10(1):116. DOI:10.1186/1743-0003-10-116 · 2.62 Impact Factor