Navigation Links
Coating improves electrical stimulation therapy used for Parkinson's, depression, chronic pain

DALLAS Sept. 16, 2008 Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have designed a way to improve electrical stimulation of nerves by outfitting electrodes with the latest in chemically engineered fashion: a coating of basic black, formed from carbon nanotubes.

The nanotube sheathing improves the signals received and transmitted by electrodes, which researchers say is a potentially critical step for advancing electrical nerve stimulation therapy. This type of therapy increasingly shows promise for diseases ranging from epilepsy to depression to chronic leg and back pain.

By implanting electronic nerve stimulators, doctors elsewhere have provided a quadriplegic patient with the ability to move a computer cursor at will, and monkeys have been able to move objects in a virtual world with mere mind power. For individuals who lose an arm or leg and rely on prosthetics, implanted stimulators offer promise in restoring feelings of sensation.

"The key to success for these types of brain-machine interfaces is where the electrode meets the nerve tissue," said Dr. Edward Keefer, instructor of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study appearing in a recent issue of Nature Nanotechnology. "When we coat the electrodes with carbon nanotubes, it improves the stimulation of the nerve and the feedback from the sensors."

Depending on the way the nanotubes are fashioned, researchers were able to bolster either the stimulation or receptive capabilities to improve performance. In some tests, the nanotube coating improved performance by fortyfold, while in others it improved by a factor of as much as 1,600.

Nanotubes look like lattices rolled into a tube on a microscopic scale. Although they are 1/50,000 the width of a human hair, nanotubes are nonetheless among the stiffest and strongest fibers known, as well as excellent conductors of electricity.

Those properties proved to be just the attributes needed to help electrophysiologists conquer some of the hurdles facing them issues such as battery power and chemical stability.

The carbon nanotube coating improves conductivity, which means less energy is needed to power the nerve stimulator. That can help reduce routine maintenance, such as the need to change batteries in implanted stimulation devices, as well as reduce tissue damage caused by the electrical charge.

"Our process is like taking a Ford Pinto, pouring on this chemical coating, and turning it into a Ferrari," Dr. Keefer said.

Researchers have tried several types of electrochemical coatings to see if they could improve conductivity, but the coatings often break down quickly or fail to stay affixed to the electrodes. The carbon nanotube coating shows far more promise, although further research is still needed, Dr. Keefer said.

"The development of new technologies by Dr. Keefer to potentially restore function in wounded tissues and future transplantations is exciting," said Dr. Spencer Brown, assistant professor of plastic surgery who heads research in the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Advanced Plastic Surgery and Wound Healing Laboratory at UT Southwestern.


Contact: Russell Rian
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Candy-coating keeps proteins sweet
2. Pictures of hot fudge sundaes arouse: Understanding emotions improves our food choices
3. JDRF-funded clinical trial demonstrates continuous glucose monitoring improves blood sugar control
4. CAPHOSOL relieves oral mucositis and improves quality-of-life in cancer patients
5. More than words: childbirth training change improves safety, cuts unnecessary procedures
6. New surgery improves head and neck cancer treatment
7. Herceptin and chemo improves response rates without major adverse effects in HER2 breast cancer
8. Stem-cell transplantation improves muscles in MD animal model, UT Southwestern researchers report
9. New clinical data shows chromium picolinate improves cognitive function
10. Teamwork improves learning and career success
11. Endobronchial valve significantly improves emphysema
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Coating improves electrical stimulation therapy used for Parkinson's, depression, chronic pain
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 Paris ...   --> Paris from 17 th ... DERMALOG, the biometrics innovation leader, has invented the first combined ... on the same scanning surface. Until now two different scanners ... one scanner can capture both on the same surface. ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... Directors. --> --> ... the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the largest ... Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating ... companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... developer of human interface solutions, today announced expansion ... Synaptics TouchView ™ touch controller and display ... architectural revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products ... include TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest ... market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations ... higher volume share for the region in the ... margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market earned ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" ... reported financial results for the quarter ended September ... in Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial ... States ," said Andrew Rae , ... regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching for ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of ... for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced ... in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ... Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th ... NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: