Navigation Links
Improved method of electrical stimulation could help treat damaged nerves
Date:11/21/2011

BOSTON Functional electrical stimulation (FES) was developed to help return lost function to patients with upper and lower extremity injuries and spinal cord injuries, among other applications. However, the devices, which work by stimulating neuronal activity in nerve-damaged patients, have a potential shortcoming in that the electrical currents needed for the treatment to work can also send errant signals to surrounding nerves, resulting in painful side effects.

Earlier this fall, a plastic surgery research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and an engineering team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), described a new method of nerve stimulation that reduces the device's electrical threshold by 40 percent, compared with traditional FES therapy. Reported in the October 23 Advance On-line issue of the journal Nature Materials, the findings could help researchers develop a safer, more efficient FES therapy with fewer side effects.

"This new device works by manipulating the concentration of charged ions surrounding the nerve," explains co-senior author Samuel J. Lin, MD, a surgeon in BIDMC's Divisions of Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. "This could potentially mean reduced risk to surrounding nerves because less electrical current is required to stimulate the affected nerve." The researchers additionally discovered that they could use the device to block signals in nearby nerve fibers, which could help prevent unwanted muscle contractions.

The research team, led by Lin and MIT Associate Professor Jongyoon Han, PhD, determined that by altering calcium ion concentrations in the fluid surrounding the nerves they could adjust the electrical impulses.

"Nerve fibers fire their signals based on the message they receive from the interaction of ions, or charged particles," explains coauthor Ahmed M.S. Ibrahim, MD, a Research Fellow in BIDMC's Divisions of Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology. "We wanted to achieve the lowest current possible that would still result in positive results." After testing the manipulation of sodium and potassium ions, the researchers determined that consistent results could be achieved by removing positively charged calcium ions from the fluid surrounding the nerves.

The newly designed method not only prevents electrical impulses from traveling along a nerve but also uses significantly less current required by existing FES therapy. "This could be of particular benefit for the treatment of patients with various forms of paralysis," explains Lin. "The nerves that control movements and the sensory nerves that carry pain signals are extremely close together, so existing FES therapy has had limitations."

The researchers conducted their study of this new electrochemical-stimulation method in the nerves of frogs and plan to later test it in mammalian nerves.

"This is an important step towards the design of a device to aid in helping patients suffering from nerve paralysis and chronic neurological conditions," say Lin. "By bringing together biomedical and engineering research teams we have been able to successfully develop this new technique. Going forward, these types of collaborations will be absolutely crucial to creating new clinical treatments and enhancing patient care."


'/>"/>

Contact: Bonnie Prescott
bprescot@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7306
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. EHJ paper underlines need for improved links between cardiologists and psychiatrists
2. Improved memory efficiency seen after aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia patients
3. ACAAI Annual Meeting abstracts: Improved outcomes for adults with allergies and asthma
4. Improved Allergy Shots Might Be on Horizon
5. New research on improved treatment options and screening strategies for Hepatitis C
6. Thyroid Surgery Linked to Improved Sleep Apnea Symptoms
7. New oncolytic virus shows improved effectiveness in preclinical testing
8. Public reporting hasnt improved transplant centers care
9. Improved method for detecting mutant DNAs
10. Researchers from Boston University receive grant to develop improved virus detection system
11. Toward an improved test for adulterated heparin
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will present the 2017 Morris F. ... AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual Symposium is taking place ... the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is presented to an individual whose ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Maryland (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... magnetic drug delivery system that we intend to develop to enable prevention of ... can lead to severe hearing loss, especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events ... Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the ... The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... On ... holding a treadmill relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the American ... $300 or more. , Teams will work together to keep their treadmills moving ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of ... and the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares ... strategic alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017  EpiVax, Inc., a ... design, and immune-engineering today announced the launch of ... development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has ... exclusive access to enabling technologies to the new ... will lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... --  ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader in cloud-based revenue ... been ranked #1 by its users for the seventh consecutive ... Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked end-to-end revenue cycle ... over 200 beds and holds one of the longest #1 ... ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews on the independent review site ... the number one company for hearing aids, ranking it higher than ... brands. ... #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Hearing is an online store that provides high performance, state-of-the-art, German-engineered ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: