Neural interface for prosthesis can restore function in motor control brain areasAugust 21, 2012
"We found that a neurally-interfaced hand prosthesis re-established communication between the central and peripheral nervous systems, not only restructuring the areas directly responsible for motor control but also their functional balance within the bi-hemispheric system necessary for motor control," says lead investigator Camillo Porcaro, PhD, of the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC) - National Research Council (CNR).
A 26-year old male with a left arm amputation was implanted with four microelectrode arrays in the ulnar and median nerves of his stump for four weeks. Prior to implantation, he was trained for two weeks by video to perform three specific movements with his phantom hand. During the experimental period, he underwent intensive training to control a hand prosthesis using the implanted microelectrodes to perform the same hand grip tasks. Together with visual feedback from the prosthesis, the patient received sensory feedback from an experimenter, who delivered electrical pulses to the nerves activated by each movement. EEG signals were recorded as the patient moved his right hand and the prosthesis.
The patient's right hand movement showed clear activation of the primary sensory and motor areas for right hand movement, on the left side of the brain. Prior to implantation, commands to move the phantom left hand triggered the primary sensory and motor areas on the left side of the brain, and the pre-motor and supplementary motor cortices on both sides of the brain. No primary motor cortex movement was found on the right side of the brain, as would be expected.
After the four weeks of prosthesis motor control training with implanted microelectrodes, cerebral activation changed markedly. Cortical recruitment became almost symmetrical with right hand movements. The presence of intra-fascicular electrodes allowed new signals to be delivered through peripheral nerves towards the cortex and produced an intensive exchange of sensori-motor afferent and efferent inputs and outputs. Four weeks of training led to a new functional recruitment of sensorimotor areas devoted to hand control.
"Taken together, the results of this study confirm that neural interfaces are optimal candidates for hand prosthesis control," says Dr. Porcaro. "They establish communication channels needed for natural control of the prosthesis. Furthermore, neural interfaces recreate the connection with the environment that promotes restorative neuroplasticity. Bi-hemispheric networks regain the physiological communication necessary for motor control."
Related Motor Control Current Events and Motor Control News Articles
Neuron-generating brain region could hold promise for neurodegenerative therapies
Adult humans continuously produce new neurons in the striatum, a brain region involved in motor control and cognitive functions, and these neurons could play an important role in recovery from stroke and possibly finding new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.
Family problems experienced in childhood and adolescence affect brain development
New research has revealed that exposure to common family problems during childhood and early adolescence affects brain development, which could lead to mental health issues in later life.
Cc to the brain: how neurons control fine motor behavior of the arm
Motor commands issued by the brain to activate arm muscles take two different routes.
The smoking gun: Fish brains and nicotine
In researching neural pathways, it helps to establish an analogous relationship between a region of the human brain and the brains of more-easily studied animal species.
Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women
A new brain connectivity study from Penn Medicine published today in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that's lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior.
Fast-mutating DNA sequences shape early development; guided evolution of uniquely human traits
What does it mean to be human? According to scientists the key lies, ultimately, in the billions of lines of genetic code that comprise the human genome.
A blueprint for restoring touch with a prosthetic hand
New research at the University of Chicago is laying the groundwork for touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs that one day could convey real-time sensory information to amputees via a direct interface with the brain.
Brain development differs in children who stutter
A new study by a University of Alberta researcher shows that children who stutter have less grey matter in key regions of the brain responsible for speech production than children who do not stutter.
Studies: Motor control development continues longer than previously believed
The development of fine motor control-the ability to use your fingertips to manipulate objects-takes longer than previously believed, and isn't entirely the result of brain development, according to a pair of complementary studies.
Irreversible tissue loss seen within 40 days of spinal cord injury
A spinal cord injury changes the functional state and structure of the spinal cord and the brain. For example, the patients' ability to walk or move their hands can become restricted.
More Motor Control Current Events and Motor Control News Articles