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

llow 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."


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

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