Nonsurgical treatment for cerebral infarction using wearable wireless ultrasound devices

January 19, 2021

Cerebral infarction, commonly known as ischemic stroke, has a high mortality rate and causes severe damage to nervous cells in the brain owing to the loss of oxygen, which results in limiting body movements. Several technologies, including physiotherapy and brain stimulation techniques, are being developed and tested for the rehabilitation of brain nervous cells damaged by a stroke. In particular, low-intensity focused ultrasound is expected to be effective for rehabilitating neurological diseases such as stroke, as it can excite or inhibit nerve cells by delivering mechanical energy with high precision at the desired position, while ultrasound is penetrating the cranium without requiring a surgical operation.

Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced that the research team at the Center for Bionics, led by Dr. Kim Hyungmin, developed a wireless rehabilitation treatment technology for brain nervous system damaged by a stroke by fabricating a wearable, wireless low-intensity focused ultrasound brain stimulator. Additionally, to verify its effectiveness, this brain stimulator was applied to animal models of stroke.

In 2018, the research team developed a treatment method in which a low-intensity focused ultrasound was applied to the cerebellar core to recover motor functions that deteriorated owing to hemiplegia, and in 2020, they proved that the low-intensity focused ultrasound applied to the cerebellar core after a stroke is closely related to the changes in a delta wave in the brain.

To harness this technology efficiently in rehabilitating stroke patients in various environments, the ultrasound device should be easy to be used in everyday life. However, the existing brain stimulator is heavy and fixed, and is therefore only applicable to experiments involving anesthetized or restrained animals, thereby making it difficult to be commercialized.

Based on the findings of previous studies, the research team at KIST developed a wearable light-weight brain stimulator, which weighs approximately 20 g, that can be wirelessly controlled. In addition, they verified the rehabilitation effectiveness after assessing the motor ability of a rat stroke model with the device. When ultrasound was applied with a pressure of approximately 426 kPa to the part of the brain that controls motor functions in a rat stroke model, the motor functions were significantly improved after three days compared to the rat stroke model to which ultrasound was not applied; the motor functions were improved to a level similar to that of normal rats after seven days of rehabilitation.

The brain stimulator developed by Dr. Kim's research team is light in weight and operates wirelessly, which does not limit the physical movements of a body as it continues stimulating the part of the brain that controls motor functions via ultrasound, thereby restoring the nervous system damaged by a stroke. The results obtained from the study are expected to soon contribute to the development of a wearable ultrasound brain stimulation technology at a clinical level.

According to Dr. Kim Hyungmin at KIST, "Recently, the wearable brain stimulation technology is advancing rapidly, and the significance of this study is in verifying the possibility of non-invasive neurorehabilitation therapy using a wearable ultrasound device," and he added that "In order to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatement, further research is required to optimize stimulation protocol by determining the molecular and cellular mechanisms of ultrasonic neuromodulation."
-end-
This study was conducted as a Creative Allied Project (CAP) of the National Research Council of Science and Technology and funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT). The findings of this study have been published in the latest edition of a prestigious international journal "IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering" of medical engineering.

National Research Council of Science & Technology

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.