Bioelectronic Medicine, Electroceuticals and other Theranostic Revolutions


Although it sounds like straight from a science fiction novel, it is the pronounced intention of neuroengineering research to reliably connect living brains to technological devices, comprising brain-machine-interfaces (BMI). The methods developed en route to such noble goal enable a novel class of interventional devices called ELECTROCEUTICALS or bioelectronic medicine. Electroceuticals achieve their therapeutic effect by stimulating particular positions of the nervous system, in the best of all cases closed-loop controlled by signals from the same tissue (theranostics).
My presentation will briefly review the field of existing electroceuticals and introduce the components needed for complete systems. Among them are implantable micro-electrodes collecting neuronal signals to be processed in situ in embedded systems capable of determining optimal conditions to trigger therapeutic stimulation utilizing same electrodes.
I will present novel multisite micro-electrode arrays -the flexible ones capable of minimizing tissue scaring- as well as wireless, head mounted recording and stimulation hardware for learning experiments with rodents. Exemplary closed-loop stimulation is performed to treat an animal model of Parkinson’s Disease and provides a testbed for a wide range of therapeutic parameters, otherwise not easily accessible in a realistic way.
Last but not least, an alternative to electrical nerve stimulation by IR-laser illumination is critically discussed.


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