UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a novel multichannel electrode array to restore locomotion in paralyzed or physically impaired patients.
Recovery of locomotion from permanent paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries (SCI) is a central focus in spinal cord prosthesis. Currently, there is no cure for spinal cord injury: aggressive physical therapy and rehabilitation can result in some improvement in locomotion, but is not guaranteed for all patients. Prior studies have demonstrated in animal models that it is possible to regain motor ability through spinal cord stimulation. However, current spinal cord electrodes are thick and bulky and are designed only for use in pain management. A device that will allow SCI patients to regain and control their movement would revolutionize the field and drastically improve patient quality of life.
Researchers at UCLA have developed a flexible multi-site polymer electrode array for epidural spinal cord stimulation. The electrodes are flexible and durable enough to withstand typical motion. Programmable multi-site electrodes allow customization of stimulation parameters for individual patients. The device was tested in vivo in a rat SCI model, which showed that electrical stimulation using the electrode array restored walking ability in paralyzed mice.
Spinal cord stimulation:
|European Patent Office||Issued Patent||3185946||10/09/2019||2015-028|
|United States Of America||Published Application||20170246452||08/31/2017||2015-028|
Additional Patents Pending
Electrode; spinal cord injury; epidural simulation; paralysis; locomotion; rehabilitation; physical therapy; prosthesis; spinal cord prosthesis; spinal cord