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Mohseni and Nudo's research on traumatic brain injuries was inspired by the number of soldiers who suffer from this every day  (Source: Military Times)
A microchip on a circuit board could bring axons together restoring physical and emotional abilities

Researchers are working to recover normal movement and behavior within patients who have suffered brain damage by creating microelectronic circuitry that will promote the reconnection of neurons and growth of axons.

This type of work was inspired by the brain injuries and trauma the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan face. Pedram Mohseni, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve University, along with Randolph J. Nudo, professor of molecular and integrative physiology at Kansas University Medical Center, are the top researchers on this project who recognize that head trauma/injury is common in injured soldiers, despite their use of armor and helmets.

Brain damage comes with side effects that can drastically alter a person's normal reality, such as loss of mobility, balance, coordination and problem-solving skills. Emotional side effects include depression, anxiety, social inappropriateness, emotional outbursts, mood swings and aggression.

But now, further research of these injuries indicates that a healthy brain, as it develops, creates and maintains communication pathways that allow neurons to "repeatedly fire together." So Mohseni and Nudo's new research revolves around the repeated communications between neurons who are distant only weeks after injury, which could lead to the reconnection of distant axons as well. 

Researchers note that the month following an injury is a crucial time period in their research because the brain is redeveloping at this point. This allows them to perform extensive rewiring where the brain cannot do so itself.

"The month following injury is a window of opportunity," said Mohseni. "We believe we can do this with an injured brain, which is very malleable."

Both researchers are able to do this by bringing their separate projects and expertise together. Mohseni has been developing a multichannel microelectronic device called a brain-machine-brain interface, which is capable of bypassing gaps left after injury. This device works through a microchip, which is smaller than a quarter, on a circuit board where the microchip amplifies neural action potentials, which are signals created by one part of the brain. An algorithm is then used to separate signals, which indicate brain spike activity from noise. 

When brain spike activity is found, the microchip delivers a "current pulse" to activate neurons in another part of the brain, thus reconnecting both regions of the brain. 

Nudo contributed his expertise on brain activity, after studying and mapping brain activity in rats, then testing the new device and the neuroanatomical rewiring theory on a traumatic brain injury model. 

The brain-machine-brain interface is a miniature device that connects to microelectrodes implanted in two regions of the brain, and stays outside of the body. 

In the future, Mohseni and Nudo hope to test their ability to rewire the brain further on rat models. If this process turns out well, they would like to move on to testing this procedure on non-human primates. If the primates are able to recover from brain injuries after extensive rewiring, Mohseni and Nudo see human patients using this in approximately 10 years.



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And so the research is born!
By aharris on 9/28/2010 12:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
This sounds like the very early beginnings of knowledge implants!

Very. Early.

But one day I could see this evolving to interact more with the brain, ultimately arriving to a point where the human mind can actually communicate with an implanted chip.

It sounds somewhat ludicrous considering current technology, but if it ever meets reality, that technology will be the next big industrial boom in our world.




RE: And so the research is born!
By tng on 9/28/2010 2:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think that the silicon technology is there already, but it is the connection and signal paths in the brain that will contribute most of the roadblocks in the future. Also think of the software...... You would really need to know what someone was thinking in order to interpret it, privacy rights anyone?


RE: And so the research is born!
By Divineburner on 9/28/2010 2:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
This, along with fuel cell embedded in one's body, indicates only one thing.

The Matrix is arriving.


RE: And so the research is born!
By tng on 9/28/2010 3:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
I thought that was SKYNET


RE: And so the research is born!
By YashBudini on 9/28/2010 6:23:11 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This sounds like the very early beginnings of knowledge implants!

Ah, Borg.


RE: And so the research is born!
By Omega215D on 9/29/2010 4:00:17 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm... they sound Swedish


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