Philadelphia, Pa. (January 16, 2013) With the rapidly expanding use of brain and spinal cord stimulation therapy (neuromodulation), new "remote presence" technologies may help to meet the demand for experts to perform stimulator programming, reports a study in the January issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
The preliminary study by Dr. Ivar Mendez of Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, supports the feasibility and safety of using a remote presence robotcalled the "RP-7"to increase access to specialists qualified to program the brain and spine stimulators used in neuromodulation.
Robot Lets Experts Guide Nurses in Programming Stimulators
Dr. Mendez and his group developed the RP-7 as a way of allowing experts to "telementor" nonexpert nurses in programming stimulator devices. Already widely used for Parkinson's disease and severe chronic pain, neuromodulation is being explored for use in other conditions, such as epilepsy, severe depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In this form of therapy, a small electrode is surgically placed in a precise location in the brain or spine. A mild electrical current is delivered to stimulate that area, with the goal of interrupting abnormal activity. As more patients undergo brain and spine stimulation therapy, there's a growing demand for experts to program the stimulators that generate the electrical current.
The RP-7 is a mobile, battery-powered robot that can be controlled using a laptop computer. It is equipped with digital cameras and microphones, allowing the expert, n
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