A neuro-stimulator could be a new way to treat the patients suffering from neurological disorders. Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new wireless pacemaker for the brain. The medical device can listen to and stimulate electric current in the brain concurrently. Thus, the neuro-stimulator can offer fine-tuned treatments to patients having Parkinson’s or epilepsy. The device consists of two tiny arrays of electrodes which lie inside the skull. Both of them connect to a circuit board present on either side of the head. The pacemaker continuously records the normal electrical current of the brain.
In case, there is any change in the signal it immediately triggers a stimulating charge to normalize the pulse. Currently, the same type of deep brain stimulation is already used for people with neurological disorders. But there are some aspects which makes it unsuccessful. Dr. Rikky Muller, said the process to find the perfect therapy is very costly and takes many years. Dr. Muller is an Assistant Professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. She also said that this type of device can be extremely useful in the case of brain tumors and seizures. The currently available stimulators in the market either stop recording while delivering the electric stimulation, or record at another section of the brain.
The new device is continuously listening for interruptions in the electrical signals. Thus it is able to make instant adjustments according to the situation. Researchers say that it works like a pacemaker for the brain. The new device is WAND, which stands for Wireless Artifact-free Neuromodulation Device. Additionally, the device is wireless as well as self-governing. It means that once it learns to identify the symptoms of tremor or seizure, it can adjust the stimulation parameters by itself. To illustrate the device, the researchers used the WAND to recognize and delay particular arm movements in rhesus macaques. Dr. Muller said we can actually monitor activities happening in a particular part of the brain while treatment. Now doctors can stimulate and record the same region.
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