Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Testing micro-electronic stimulators for spinal cord injuries

Date:
October 18, 2011
Source:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Summary:
A new wireless device may help victims of spinal cord injury. Researchers are developing micro-electrical stimulators for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Mesut Sahin, a bioengineer at NJIT, works on developing and testing an embedded micro-electrical stimulator for people with spinal cord injuries.
Credit: NJIT

A new wireless device to help victims of spinal cord injury is receiving attention in the research community. Mesut Sahin, PhD, associate professor, in the department of biomedical engineering at NJIT, recently has published and presented news of his findings to develop micro-electrical stimulators for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

The work, now in its third year of support from a four-year, $1.4 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, has resulted in the development and testing of a technology known by its acronym, FLAMES (floating light activated micro-electrical stimulators). The technology, really a tiny semiconductor device, will eventually enable people with spinal cord injuries to restore some of the motor functions that are lost due to injury. Energized by an infrared light beam through an optical fiber located just outside the spinal cord these micro-stimulators will activate the nerves in the spinal cord below the point of injury and thus allow the use of the muscles that were once paralyzed.

This past September, The Journal of Neural Engineering published the first testing in animals. "Our in vivo tests suggest that the FLAMES can be used for intraspinal micro-stimulation even for the deepest implant locations in the rat spinal cord," said Sahin.

"The power required to generate a threshold arm movement was investigated as the laser source was moved away from the micro-stimulator. The results indicate that the photon density does not decrease substantially for horizontal displacements of the source that are in the same order as the beam radius. This gives confidence that the stimulation threshold may not be very sensitive to small displacement of the spinal cord relative to the spine-mounted optical power source." Sahin spoke about this work at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference in Boston, also in September of 2011.

FLAMES is a semiconductor device that is remotely controlled by an optical fiber attached to a low power near-infrared laser. The device is implanted into the spinal cord, and is then allowed to float in the tissue. There are no attached wires. A patient pushes a button on the external unit to activate the laser, the laser then activates the FLAMES device.

"The unique aspect of the project is that the implanted stimulators are very small, in the sub-millimeter range," Sahin said. "A key benefit is that since our device is wireless, the connections can't deteriorate over time plus, the implant causes minimal reaction in the tissue which is a common problem with similar wired devices."

The electrical activation of the central and peripheral nervous system has been investigated for treatment of neural disorders for many decades and a number of devices have already successfully moved into the clinical phase, such as cochlear implants and pain management via spinal cord stimulation. Others are on the way, such as micro stimulation of the spinal cord to restore locomotion, micro stimulation of the cochlear nucleus, midbrain, or auditory cortex to better restore hearing and stimulation of the visual cortex in the blind subject. All of them, however, are wired, unlike FLAMES, which is not.

Selim Unlu, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Boston University, is working with Sahin. "We hope that once FLAMES advances to the clinical stage, patients paralyzed by spinal injury will be able to regain vital functions," Sahin said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ammar Abdo, Mesut Sahin, David S Freedman, Elif Cevik, Philipp S Spuhler, M Selim Unlu. Floating light-activated microelectrical stimulators tested in the rat spinal cord. Journal of Neural Engineering, 2011; 8 (5): 056012 DOI: 10.1088/1741-2560/8/5/056012

Cite This Page:

New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Testing micro-electronic stimulators for spinal cord injuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017133804.htm>.
New Jersey Institute of Technology. (2011, October 18). Testing micro-electronic stimulators for spinal cord injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017133804.htm
New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Testing micro-electronic stimulators for spinal cord injuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017133804.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins