MANHASSET, N.Y., Nov. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research used new closed-loop neurostimulation methods and textile-based electrodes to facilitate individual finger movement and grasp force regulation in quadriplegia individuals. Their results were published in the Springer Nature journal, Bioelectronic Medicine.
Approximately 5.4 million people are living with paralysis in the United States, with stroke and spinal cord injury the two leading causes. Over the skin, or transcutaneous, neuromuscular electrical stimulation is often used in physical rehabilitation for those with paralysis. However, there are limitations for non-invasive stimulation systems, including not being able to target all muscles, muscle fatigue and inconsistent contraction strength.
To address the current rehabilitative boundaries, a team of researchers, led by Chad Bouton, vice president of advanced engineering and professor in the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, partnered with Milad Alizadeh-Meghrazi, director of research and development at Myant Inc. and co-author of the paper. The team developed closed-loop neurostimulation methods and textile-based electrodes using proprietary processes from Myant Inc. to form a light-weight, wearable sleeve that regulates individual finger forces to facilitate functional movement in paralyzed individuals.
"We developed an approach that accurately controls muscle contractions and resulting forces exerted by the fingers," said Bouton. "This opens up future research possibilities to create portable, rehabilitative devices beyond the laboratory to help those living with paralysis."
The study consisted of three able-body participants and two participants with quadriplegia. The participants had the sleeve placed on their forearm, and electrical stimulation was applied to the different electrodes to evoke various movements. Finger extension, flexing, and a cylindrical type grasp was observed in each participant, including the ability to squeeze and support a full (750 mL) water bottle.
The results show that through controlled electrical stimulation, along with the use of light-weight textile electrodes, grasp force can be initiated and regulated in quadriplegia. In the future, the methods and technology used could be implemented with an in-brain computer interface to better decode and control hand movements.
"Chad Bouton and his team continue to advance our understanding and application of the science to better help those living with paralysis," said Kevin J. Tracey, CEO and president of the Feinstein Institutes.
About the Feinstein Institutes
The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York. Home to 50 research labs, 2,500 clinical research studies and 4,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes is raising the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We're making breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we're producing knowledge to cure disease, visit feinstein.northwell.edu.
About Myant Inc.
Myant is on a mission to empower humanity through Textile Computing™. Founded in 2010, Toronto-based Myant Inc. has created the world's first Textile Computing™ platform that ambiently connects humans to the world around them through textile-based solutions. With an extensive patent portfolio, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, data scientists, fashion designers and knitting technicians, and over 80,000 ft² of manufacturing capacity, Myant is turning everyday textiles into bidirectional interfaces for human-computer interaction. Connect with us to find out how we can help you create innovative solutions powered by textiles that can sense and react to the human body. For more information about how we're transforming human connectedness, visit myant.ca.
Matthew Libassi, Feinstein Institutes
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SOURCE Northwell Health