Technology making a difference

In a world first, neuroscientists have developed a device with the potential to improve the independence of people with severe paralysis ⎮ 1 min read
Published in Neuroscience
Technology making a difference
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Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery
Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery

Motor neuroprosthesis implanted with neurointerventional surgery improves capacity for activities of daily living tasks in severe paralysis: first in-human experience

Background Implantable brain–computer interfaces (BCIs), functioning as motor neuroprostheses, have the potential to restore voluntary motor impulses to control digital devices and improve functional independence in patients with severe paralysis due to brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve or muscle dysfunction. However, reports to date have had limited clinical translation. Methods Two participants with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) underwent implant in a single-arm, open-label, prospective, early feasibility study. Using a minimally invasive neurointervention procedure, a novel endovascular Stentrode BCI was implanted in the superior sagittal sinus adjacent to primary motor cortex. The participants undertook machine-learning-assisted training to use wirelessly transmitted electrocorticography signal associated with attempted movements to control multiple mouse-click actions, including zoom and left-click. Used in combination with an eye-tracker for cursor navigation, participants achieved Windows 10 operating system control to conduct instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) tasks. Results Unsupervised home use commenced from day 86 onwards for participant 1, and day 71 for participant 2. Participant 1 achieved a typing task average click selection accuracy of 92.63% (100.00%, 87.50%–100.00%) (trial mean (median, Q1–Q3)) at a rate of 13.81 (13.44, 10.96–16.09) correct characters per minute (CCPM) with predictive text disabled. Participant 2 achieved an average click selection accuracy of 93.18% (100.00%, 88.19%–100.00%) at 20.10 (17.73, 12.27–26.50) CCPM. Completion of IADL tasks including text messaging, online shopping and managing finances independently was demonstrated in both participants. Conclusion We describe the first-in-human experience of a minimally invasive, fully implanted, wireless, ambulatory motor neuroprosthesis using an endovascular stent-electrode array to transmit electrocorticography signals from the motor cortex for multiple command control of digital devices in two participants with flaccid upper limb paralysis.

A team of neuroscientists have developed the Endovascular Motor Neuroprosthesis System, designed to improve the lives of people with limited mobility.

A device with 16 sensors was successfully implanted inside the brains of two participants with upper limb paralysis caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The international neurosurgeon team connected the device from the superior sagittal sinus in the brain, through the internal jugular vein, to an internal telemetry unit (ITU) implanted within the patient's chest. An external telemetry unit (ETU), placed externally on the patient's chest, receives signals from the brain via infrared light transmission, and transmits these signals wirelessly to a tablet computer via decoding software on Windows 10.  

The participants were trained how to control mouse functions using an eye tracker and make selections with the motor neuroprosthesis, for example, typing words and magnifying the screen. As a result, they experienced greater independence by performing every day tasks like online shopping, banking and smart device communication, such as emailing, browsing and texting.

Learn more about this life changing technology in Motor neuroprosthesis implanted with neurointerventional surgery improves capacity for activities of daily living tasks in severe paralysis: first in-human experience published by Neurointerventional Surgery.

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