SEARCH
Current Location:
>
> This Story


Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Send us your Comments

Never Miss a Story

Sign up for email alerts

 

More Industry Headlines

FDA approves Philips' telehealth apps Helping physicians monitor the chronically ill at home

Studies find fault in FDA approval process for implanted medical devices Lack of information available to public

Imaging Department Priorities Lorna Young, Senior Director, Market Research, IMV Medical Information Division, shares highlights from a major research paper

GE and GlaxoSmithKline team up for oncology testing Working to standardize diagnostic testing

Boosting access to primary care Increasing amount of physicians is not the answer

Federal government weighs in on antibiotic resistance Issues national strategy and calls for alternative treatments

A protein can speed up recovery after radiation and chemo Shows promise in animal experiments

Patient engagement solutions market expected to soar Will hit $13.7 billion by 2019

The pioneer of public health nursing This month in medical history, September 1, 1940

Big data platform designed for new value-based model Helps physicians improve outcomes while reducing costs

Neuroprosthetic research
to help injured soldiers

Congress Gives $1.6 M Grant for Neuroprosthetic Research

by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor
With wars abroad leaving hundreds of young Americans missing limbs, a Congressional windfall could spur development of advanced prosthetics that connect nerve tissue to implants.

As part of a recently passed Department of Defense spending bill, the U.S. Congress gave the Center for Neuroprosthetics and BioMEMS (CNB), a division of the Bioengineering Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., $1.6 million to fund work on artificial limbs called neuroprosthetics.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

Can a small footprint have a big impact in DR?

The Multix Select digital radiography (DR) system's floor mounting, table integrated generator & small footprint can accommodate even the smallest clinical setting while maintaining diagnostic confidence. Click for more info



"The new funding is going to allow us to focus more carefully on several areas," W. Grant McGimpsey, Ph.D., a chemistry professor and the director of the Institute tells DOTMed News. "Essentially we want to learn how to induce normal functioning of neurons integrated with artificial material. The overriding picture of this is we want an implanted artificial limb."

NERVE GROWTH

One of the central challenges of creating a neuroprosthetic is the "neuro" part, getting nervous tissue to regrow or at least link up with the new limb.

Dr. McGimpsey's team's current strategy involves setting micro-wires as means of transporting action potentials, the electric firing of a neuron, from a nerve to sensors on the artificial appendage.

Eventually, Dr. McGimpsey hopes to use the micro-wires as scaffolding for new nerve growth. This is trickier, and involves converting stem cells into the appropriate kind of nerve cells. But Dr. McGimpsey intends to use his training as a surface chemist to create materials that encourage deposits of stem cells to become fully functional, differentiated new neurons.

"We can tailor the physical and chemical property of surfaces," he says. "We have to be able to tailor the surface, so it prompts these neurons to differentiate and function in the right way."

For many amputees, growing new nerve tissue is critical, as many of the nerves in the remnant limb are dead.

"If you damage a nerve, you have a few weeks before it dies," says Dr. McGimpsey.

But Dr. McGimpsey says now surgeons who amputate limbs work hard to save the nerves.

"If you look at typical amputations over the past thousands of years, there was no attempt to preserve viable tissue," he says. But now, "nerve bundles are being pulled back up into the residual limb and bunched there, and that allows them to continue living. [The surgeons] are prepping the person for the reconnection of the nervous tissue in the future."

SKIN SEALANTS

But for those nerve bundles to be useful later, Dr. McGimpsey and his team have to tackle one of the unheralded challenges of devising a new limb: infections.

Continue reading Congress Gives $1.6 M Grant for Neuroprosthetic Research...
  Pages: 1 - 2 >>

Related:


Interested in Medical Industry News? Subscribe to DOTmed's weekly news email and always be informed. Click here, it takes just 30 seconds.
Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to DOTmed.com, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2014 DOTmed.com, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED