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New device can benefit patients with upper limb paralysis

A small device, the size of a small paper clip, has been shown in the first human exam to help patients with upper limb paralysis who shop for text, email, and even online.

The device Stentrode ™ suffered from severe paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (also known as motor neuron disease (MND)), both of whom were incapable of moving their upper limbs. It was successfully transplanted into the patient.

Published on Journal of NeuroInterventional SurgeryThe results found that Stentrode ™ can wirelessly restore the transmission of brain impulses outside the body. This allowed patients to successfully complete day-to-day tasks such as online banking, shopping, and text messaging that were previously unavailable.

Professor Peter Mitchell, director of neurointervention services at Royal Melbourne Hospital and lead investigator in the study, said the findings are promising and show that the device can be safely transplanted and used in patients.

Since this is my first surgery, I couldn’t guarantee that it wasn’t a problem, but in both cases the surgery worked better than I expected... “

Peter Mitchell, Professor, Director of Neurointervention Services, Senior Researcher at Royal Melbourne Hospital

Professor Mitchell transplanted the device into study participants through a blood vessel next to the motor cortex of the brain, including a small “keyhole” incision in the neck.

“Surgery was not easy and each surgery varied depending on the patient’s anatomy, but in both cases the patient was able to be discharged after a few days. This also means a quick recovery from surgery. Shows, “said Professor Mitchell.

Associate Professor Thomas Oxley, Synchron’s Neurointerventionist and CEO (Research and Commercial Partner), said this was a milestone in the field of brain computer interfaces.

“We are pleased to report that we have provided a fully portable take-away wireless technology that works to restore the freedom of people with severe disabilities, does not require neurosurgery,” he said. Co-Head Associate Professor Oxley said. The Institute of Vascular Bionics at the University of Melbourne said.

Two patients used Stentrode ™ to control a computer-based operating system in combination with an eye tracker for cursor navigation. So I didn’t need a mouse or keyboard.

We also conducted machine learning support training to control multiple mouse click actions such as zooming and left-clicking. The first two patients achieved average click accuracy of 92% and 93%, respectively, and achieved input speeds of 14 and 20 characters per minute with predicted text disabled.

Associate Professor Nicholas Opy of the University of Melbourne, Co-Head of the Institute for Vascular Bionics at the University of Melbourne, and Chief Technology Officer of Syncron, the development is exciting and the patients involved are in their lives. He said he had regained some freedom.

“It’s really great to see participants use this system to communicate and control their computers independently at home in their own minds,” said Associate Professor Opy.

“I am grateful to work with such a wonderful participant. My colleagues and I are honored to make a difference in their lives. Others will be inspired by their success. I hope.

“For the past eight years, we have used the world-leading medical and engineering spirit to create implants that allow paralyzed people to control external devices with the power of thought. I am happy to be able to report. “

Researchers will take years to unveil technology that can regain independence to complete their day-to-day tasks, but global, interdisciplinary teams are constantly striving to achieve this. I warn you that you are doing.

The study recently received an A $ 1.48 million grant from the Australian Federal Government and hopes to extend the study to hospitals in New South Wales and Queensland to enroll more patients.


Journal reference:

Oxley, TJ, et al.. (2020) Motor nerve prostheses with embedded nerve intervention surgery improve the ability of activities of daily living in severe paralysis: the first human experience. Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery..

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