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:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 NXTD ) ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and buy ... smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season. ... the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the ... issues of concern for various industry verticals such as ... due to the growing demand for secure & simplified ... various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse ... electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by ... --> --> Synaptics works ... strategic collaboration in the joint development of next generation ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 2 nouvelles études permettent ... les différences entre les souches bactériennes retrouvées dans la ... des êtres humains . Ces recherches  ouvrent une nouvelle ... prise en charge efficace de l,un des problèmes ... chats .    --> 2 nouvelles études ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ... and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at ... New York . .   ... approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation to download ... presentation will be available on the website approximately one ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® ... management will participate in a fireside chat discussion at ... New York . The discussion is scheduled ... .  A replay will be ... Media Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific ... contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of ... in lower margins but higher volume share for ... capacity and scale, however, margins in the CRO ... Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), finds ...
Breaking Biology Technology: