Bionics Consultant Will Rosellini Predicts ‘Deus Ex’-Style Human Augmentation in Our Lifetime

I recently had the pleasure to speak with Eidos Montreal’s primary bionics consultant for the Deus Ex series, Will Rosellini.

Will has been involved with the franchise since the development of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and has had a major influence on the developer’s depiction of future human augmentation. It was a fascinating conversation, and likely not our last: Will is pushing a lot of new technology, both in and outside the world of Deus Ex.

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Nate: First, let’s talk a bit more about you. You weren’t always a bionics researcher. In fact, you started out as a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. That’s a pretty big move. How did you get from one to the other?

Will: So I was a right-handed pitcher that threw with a lot of power, but never could control my curve ball. So I played in the Diamondbacks organization, and retired at the ripe old age of 22 years old — when I realized I didn’t want to ride buses for the next ten years in the minor leagues. And what I was fascinated with was the idea of, well… I’m 6’2.” I could throw as hard as everybody else, physically. I’m on the same training program. What was the difference between me and the other pitchers? And the big difference was how my nervous system controlled my athletic performance. For whatever reason, it was different. That set me off on a path to think about how the nervous system works, and why it would be important in things like athletics. And just in investigating that, I started to see how much was going to happen with technology that altered the nervous system that I just got hooked after my baseball career, and so I became a neuro-technologist.

Nate: Now you’re the CEO of Nexeon MedSystems.

Will: So I kind of have three parts to my career. First, I was a perennial graduate student to learn everything I could about how to translate, basically devices that were electrically active, like pacemakers, and turn those into clinical products. So I ended up getting six graduate degrees —

Nate: Six?

Will: (laughs) Six. Yeah. I’m in the 33rd grade, is what I tell my kids. So anyway I like to learn and so I kept going to school to learn about different aspects of failure modes, of where this technology was going to go, and in the process learned from a lot of professors. They had a lot of innovations that were just really, really exciting to work on.

I didn’t want to be a bench-top researcher, so I became an entrepreneur, took their ideas and spun them out into companies. I’ve been doing that for the better part of 15 years. Nexeon is a company that is going public, that has a lot of different products that are implantable neuro-technologies.

Nate: How did you get involved with Eidos Montreal and Deus Ex?

Will: In 2001, two things happened in the same week, on Christmas break. One, I saw a Zyvex presentation on how they were going to utilize DARPA funding — the research arm of the Department of Defense — to make robotic limbs that plug back into the nervous system. So I was in Dallas — Zyvex is from Dallas, they’re a nanotech company — and I saw the presentation, and thought that was really, really cool.

Second, I played Deus Ex: Invisible Warfare. I loved Invisible Warfare for all the reasons I think Deus Ex is one of the best games of all time, but I understood why the critics didn’t like it as much as the original. So I pretty much played Invisible Warfare, then played the original and said, “I’m going to do this the rest of my life.”

So that’s kind of, sort of a “calling” moment. Five years later, I’m doing neuro-technology. We’re making devices to alter the way that we learn and remember, and Deus Ex announces that they’re going to reboot the franchise.

I called the CEO at the time and said, “Look guys, y’all messed up how the technology was done in Invisible War; you just kind of waved your hand, and said ‘it’s all nano-technology and black box stuff.’” I said, “Let’s just work a lot harder on it; I’ll do it for free.” And so, he replied back and said, “Look, we had a meeting and thought you might have just been a crazy person and a crazy fan and were going to ignore you… But okay. Give us an hour.”

So we sat down with the original team — Mary DeMarle and Jonathan [Jacques-Belletête] — and they said, “Here’s what we’re thinking,” and I said, “Y’all are already on the right path.” We spent two years saying, “Alright, I’m working on devices ten years in the future; let’s just make this real. The reality of this space is so cool that we don’t have to make it science fiction.” So we spent a lot of time developing a road map that takes us out to 2027, which is when Human Revolution began.

When I looked at it, it was basically two technology cycles of development. I was already working on the first cycle and knew exactly what would be coming out, so it was just one more jump. What I think was really cool about Human Revolution was we’re now about ten years out, and we were really right on a lot of stuff.

The fun thing about Mankind Divided is that it continues to sort of project into a range where these technologies are becoming more real, and you’re basically starting to adopt cell phone technology into your nervous system. We predicted that a long time ago.

Nate: The Deus Ex series is one of the reasons I knew that I wanted to write about video games for a living. It’s been hugely influential since its creation, and I can see it becoming more relevant now than ever. But to follow up on what you were just saying, how close do you think the tech in Mankind Divided is to the real world? Would you give me an example?

Will: Yeah, so we’ll do a couple examples. One is, we’ve been working on a technology that came out of UT-Dallas, where you apply a brief burst of electricity on the vagus nerve — which is a nerve in the neck — and when you do that, you get a burst of neuro-chemicals in the brain, and these are the same chemicals that you get when you take ADHD medicine. So essentially it tells your brain, “Okay, pay attention, this is what you’re supposed to be learning.” So we showed that was really important if you want to take an adult that’s stopped having what we call “neuroplasticity,” or the ability to learn, and said, “Well, let’s rapidly relearn how to use your arm.” And that becomes important in a stroke.

In the game, you’re able to learn different types of moves based on your upgrades. You’re able to do language development, or cognitive development, and learn new skills very quickly. Kind of like a Matrix download. Well, DARPA just came out with a program where they want to use vagus nerve stimulation and targeted neuroplasticity for soldiers to learn new languages very quickly. And so that was something that we predicted in 2007 that is now becoming real, and Deus Ex had that integrated in Human Revolution from the very beginning.

Nate: What about more blatant physical augmentations? For instance, Adam Jensen can lift things that would be too heavy for a normal person, leap extraordinarily far, and see with unnatural acuity.

Will: Yeah, that’s a good thrust to pay attention to. There’s two companies — and this is interesting for the game — we predicted that vision restoration would first be part of a small subset of blindness, and then a company out of the University of Southern California eventually got enough channels to not only restore vision, but to actually make your vision better. And there’s really no reason you couldn’t add other elements outside the spectrum of light we currently see. So you could see ultraviolet light, for example.

So there’s a company that’s gone public, it’s called Second Sight, it’s FDA approved, and you get an ocular implant that restores your blindness, and their next product will be a brain implant that gives you more visualization channels than you have as a natural seeing person.

Now, the funny thing about this was, The Sun over in the U.K. got confused about what theDeus Ex technology was depicting, versus the real world. They ran an article saying it already existed in 2010, I believe. It was a lot of fun for us because I was like, “Yes, we’re getting close enough that people think what we said was happening was real.”

And then somebody wrote his master’s thesis on how much was real versus fiction in the game, and then did a pretty thorough analysis on how close we got. It was kind of fun to kind of have somebody else do all the work to see how close the predictions came.

Now the other thing you said was being able to lift things and be very strong. There’s two companies now making exoskeletons, where essentially the idea was to let paralyzed patients walk, and we want to let soldiers carry 500-600 pounds of supplies. So Ekso Bionics has made an exoskeleton, and there are companies that are currently modulating the nervous system to allow you to learn how to use the exoskeletal systems faster. So you’re getting a combination of stimulation of the nervous system, learning, and super strength as augmented by these mechanical skeletons.

Nate: Obviously we’re making a huge number of advances. But that brings us to a subject that is very close to the heart of both Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, which is, “How are we going to respond as a society? As a species?” After all, Deus Ex paints a pretty dystopic vision of mankind’s reaction to “directed evolution.”

Will: So CNN actually did a conference on the ethics of human augmentation. I actually participated in about a three or four month process to write a code of ethics on what would be allowed versus not allowed in this new world of augmentations. I brought in a whole lot of people, guys on the president’s Council of Bioethics, but there were a couple of really interesting questions that come up that I think speak to your point.

First one is, we’ve already been augmenting ourselves for about 15 years with mechanical devices to get bigger boobs and better chins. Augmentation for sex purposes is about 15 years old. There’s a stat on the abuse of cognitive-enhancing drugs, where 40% of professors and I think 50% of college seniors are using drugs to enhance their performance cognitively. And then, of course, you know about athletes with performance-enhancing drugs. So I think that in the enhancement argument of changing things in a dramatic way, is a little bit misshapen, in the sense that we’re already doing it.

Nate: Right.

Will: Where it gets interesting is things like, you know if the technology exists and you’re in the military, do you have to be augmented? Does the government have to pay for you to become a super soldier, or otherwise risk your life? If you’re a profoundly deaf child, does the state have to pay for your deaf education, or can they force you to get a cochlear implant?

It’s more the margins of where the technology can be applied, and new questions of, okay, the technology drives costs down, but it creates new questions for the state to answer, it creates questions for responsible parties of children to answer. But I don’t believe in this dystopian future that Deus Ex propagates, as being driven from the augmentations themselves.

Nate: How do you think people are going to respond as this technology becomes more prevalent? We have technologies on the horizon that are so life-altering, and they’ve become virtually inevitable. How do you think people are going to deal with that?

Will: We envision a future that, instead of people lining up to get the latest Apple phone, they’re lining up to get upgrades to their implanted systems. That sounds way far off, but it’s not. It’s in a 10-15 year time frame; it’ll be in our lifetime. And here’s the reason why: The brain naturally wants to be part of a social network. So the reason you actually cannotnot pay attention to your phone — is that your brain is addicted to being connected into this social network.

But it’s actually frustrating for your brain to have to have the delay between a thought, cognitive activity, and your fingers doing typing. So just like the cell phone and Facebook have driven adoption of new technology because we all want to be closer and more networked and more information needs to get into our nervous system, if we make the devices minimally invasive enough, there’s not much difference to carrying a cell phone in your hand 24/7, sleeping with it, and having that same technology planted directly into the nervous system. That’s where we think it’s going to go. Then it becomes a software upgrade to get to new capabilities for your nervous system.

Nate: What are the hazards involved in such dramatic leaps forward? Are we in danger of becoming Icarus as we charge headfirst into altering the fundamental aspects of our humanity? What are the issues of this next version of humanity?

Will: Well, you’re going to have real challenges with the idea that the future of technology is here, it’s just not evenly distributed. I believe that the biggest challenge will be in the “have vs. have not” debate of an elite super class getting access to technology that gives them even more of an advantage, and a poor underclass that can’t catch up.

That’s always been the case in human society. There’s this class division. It’s primarily been driven by a combination of nature vs nurture. So you’re given genes and you’re given an environment, and usually you fall in the range of where that gene/environment combo gets you. The difference is that with enabling technology that allows you to change your genetic structure or rapidly alter your environmental upbringing, you now get exponential improvements in people who have access to that technology, and that creates a gigantic divide.

Nate: I guess this “human revolution” could leave “mankind divided.” And speaking of which, what’s it been like working like directly with the team? You’re essentially helping to create a video game simulation of what you’re actually studying in reality. That must be surreal.

Will: For me, my wife thinks I’m crazy to go work for free on extra stuff, but I tell her, you know, this is just a medium to do better work on predicting the future. Ultimately, an R&D company is trying to predict the future. So I consider it a blessing that I got to work with some of the most creative people in the space. You’d be amazed at how much Jonathan and the art team, and their visual of what the world looks like, inspires you to create technology that would fit.

Being in a creative environment with super creative people, and then having to draw a realistic technology adaption from that, was a blessing. I mean it’s helped my business enormously. Because they challenge me to think about 20 years from now, and they really came in and say, “Why not? Why won’t this be the way it goes?” You know, in 2006 or 2007 you didn’t have iPhones. And so, just the difference of what’s happened in 10 years. It’s been great that I’ve had to be around these types of thinkers for my own business.

Nate: Does anything else stick out from your time with the team? Any special memories or anecdotes?

Will: I think one of the coolest things about that group of people was their ability to think about what the gamer wanted to see in the video game and their dedication to saying “It wasn’t ours” — they didn’t write the original Deus Ex, they inherited a franchise.

Nate: Those are some huge shoes to fill.

Will: Yeah, some people argue it’s the greatest game ever made.

Nate: It’s a legitimate argument.

Will: This team had an enormous amount of respect for the core ideology, to go back to the original Deus Ex design, and think through that, and then, in my opinion, they not only nailed it from an ideology perspective on both versions, but they’ve actually improved it, and expanded it, and made it applicable.

My kids aren’t going to get their campfire myths and stories and culture from me, singing songs after a big hunt. They’re going to get their myths and cultures and rules from video games. And so, what an exciting way to bring science, technology, even political debate into a venue that 15-year olds with 0% attention span can handle! I think they did a great job doing that. They handled a lot of tough issues in very elegant ways.

Nate: That is a very important point about passing on our culture, and one I think that very few people truly understand. It’s another reason why video games have become such an important element of modern society. Whether people understand them or not, they’ve become just as important to us as movies, television, and even literature.

But wrapping up: what’s next for you? Working on more Deus Ex stuff, or are you branching out in some other areas?

Will: No, I’m pretty focused, right? So I don’t work on video games, I just work on Deus Ex, because I care about neurotechnology. I’ll work on this as long as they’ll have me.

What I’m seeing is that, in my business which is moving away from hardware-like implants like pacemakers, to becoming “What can we do with neurotechnology, like virtual reality, like augmented reality?” Some of these concepts are starting to merge in ways that you say, well, the video game is an immersive environment with a fantasy. Technically, your brain is making a hologram when it’s bringing in information from your eyes anyway. So any good neuroscientist will tell you that 80% of what you visualize as part of your field of view is a hologram; you’re not actually seeing that. I think there are really dramatic ways that will change human health in ways that are great.

We’ve got 30 million patients with cognitive issues that don’t have a voice to complain, to know how big a problem this is. But most importantly, how exciting would it be if the entire human race got 30% smarter? We’d start to solve bigger, harder problems. We’d get off this planet. So I’m really excited about the prospect of Human 2.0 driven by a neurotechnology revolution. And so I’ll stay working on this for the rest of my life.

Nate: Sign me up. And thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Article Source:  http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/08/23/bionics-consultant-will-rosellini-predicts-deus-ex-style-human-augmentation-in-our-lifetime/

Inspire Medical Systems Reaches over 1,000 Implants for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Strong demand year-to-date driving revenues already exceeding sales for full-year 2015

Inspire therapy is currently available at more than 100 leading medical centers across the U.S. and Europe

Company Named 33rd Fastest-Growing U.S. Private Company on Inc. 5000

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 22, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —  Inspire Medical Systems, Inc., a medical technology company that has developed and is commercializing a neurostimulation platform for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), today announced that the Company’s Inspire therapy has now been implanted in over 1,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe.

Inspire therapy is an FDA-approved treatment for people with moderate to severe OSA who are unable to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In contrast to CPAP, the Inspire device works inside the body and with a patient’s natural breathing process. Inspire also previously received CE Mark, which allows for commercial use of the device in Europe.

The growing demand for Inspire therapy has generated revenues year-to-date that have already exceeded sales for the full-year 2015.  Moreover, in recognition of the Company’s rapid revenue growth through calendar year 2015, Inspire was recently named by Inc. magazine as the 33rd fastest-growing private company in America on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list.  The rankings are based on the percentage of revenue growth over a four-year period.

In support of driving further growth of Inspire, important clinical data was recently presented at the 30th Annual SLEEP Meeting in Denver, Colorado.  Among several oral/poster presentations, three presentations included additional clinical evidence for patients implanted with Inspire and one that included further long-term data from the Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction (STAR) trial.  Each study supported the fact that Inspire therapy is an adjustable, titratable medical device that decreases the burden of moderate to severe OSA in those patients unable to get consistent benefit from CPAP.  In addition, Inspire has been the subject of over 20 peer-reviewed articles.

“We are pleased to reach this important milestone in the adoption of Inspire,” said Tim Herbert, President and CEO of Inspire Medical Systems, Inc.  “We expect that the growing number of positive clinical experiences with our therapy and the recently announced extended data from the STAR Trial with outcomes through 36 and 42 months will drive further demand for our therapy.  The increasing demand for Inspire is driving significant revenue growth, as our year-to-date sales in 2016 are now higher than our full-year revenues for 2015.”

OSA is a large market that affects approximately 18 million people in the U.S. It is important for affected individuals to identify an effective treatment option, as untreated OSA can have devastating effects on heart and brain health, impair quality of life and increase accident risk.

Inspire therapy is currently available in more than 100 leading medical centers across the U.S. and Europe as a result of continued excellent clinical data and growing physician experience.

About Inspire Therapy
Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy is an FDA-approved treatment for some people with moderate to severe OSA who are unable to tolerate or get relief from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In contrast to CPAP, Inspire therapy is implanted inside the body and works with a patient’s natural breathing process. Controlled by the patient sleep remote, the system includes a breathing sensor and a stimulation lead powered by a small battery. During sleep, the system senses breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to the tongue and other soft tissues of the throat to keep the airway open. Inspire therapy is currently available at more than 100 leading medical centers across the United States and Europe.

About Inspire Medical Systems, Inc.
Inspire Medical Systems, Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minn., was incorporated with the purpose of developing a safe, effective and well-accepted therapy to help those OSA patients who are unable to tolerate or get relief from CPAP. Inspire therapy is the world’s first implantable FDA-approved neurostimulation system for the treatment of OSA. The Company is privately held and investors include Aperture Venture Partners, GDN Holdings, Johnson & Johnson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Medtronic, OrbiMed Advisors, Synergy Life Science Partners, TGap Ventures and US Venture Partners.

Source Article: Yahoo! Finance

Unmet Medical Needs among Neurological Disorder Patients to Augment Demand for Neuromodulation Devices Market, reports TMR

Synapse and Neurons sending electrical signals and chemical signaling to human receptor cells as a neurotransmission for the brain and nervous system in the function of anatomy of the body.

Synapse and Neurons sending electrical signals and chemical signaling to human receptor cells as a neurotransmission for the brain and nervous system in the function of anatomy of the body.

The neuromodulation devices market is oligopolistic in nature with the top four companies representing nearly 91% of the overall market, finds Transparency Market Research (TMR) in a new study. The key players in the global neuromodulation devices market are Boston Scientific, Cyberonics, Medtronic, and St. Judes Medical.

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There are high entry barriers for new players owing to high capital investment and stringent government regulations. “However, large companies can enter the neuromodulation devices market through mergers and by acquiring smaller companies,” says the author of the report. The most lucrative way for new vendors to enter the global neuromodulation devices market is through the ownership of groundbreaking and innovative technologies, as technological advancement is a major driving force for the market.

The neuromodulation devices market is oligopolistic in nature with the top four companies representing nearly 91% of the overall market, finds Transparency Market Research (TMR) in a new study. The key players in the global neuromodulation devices market are Boston Scientific, Cyberonics, Medtronic, and St. Judes Medical.

There are high entry barriers for new players owing to high capital investment and stringent government regulations. “However, large companies can enter the neuromodulation devices market through mergers and by acquiring smaller companies,” says the author of the report. The most lucrative way for new vendors to enter the global neuromodulation devices market is through the ownership of groundbreaking and innovative technologies, as technological advancement is a major driving force for the market.

External Funding for Clinical Studies to Augur Well for Sales of Neuromodulation Devices

The rising geriatric population, especially in developed countries such as the U.S., Japan, and Germany are likely to produce notable growth opportunities for the global neuromodulation devices market. This is because of the fact that the aged people are more susceptible to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Neuromodulation devices have proven to be extremely effective in treating Parkinson’s and other chronic illnesses induced by old age.

The growth of the global neuromodulation devices market is backed by external funding to conduct clinical studies. Such initiatives pave the way for the development of technologically updated devices and also reduce the R&D costs pertaining to the development of new products.

Source Article: http://www.medgadget.com/2016/08/unmet-medical-needs-among-neurological-disorder-patients-to-augment-demand-for-neuromodulation-devices-market-reports-tmr.html

Bio Focus: Ionic liquid gels enable wearable bioelectronics sensors

 

ionic-liquid-220
Schematic of a bioelectronics sensor shows the pattern of the poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) stencil in a textile and the selectively coated poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) area. An ionic liquid (IL) gel is then deposited on top of the PEDOT:PSS electrode defined by the PDMS layer. Credit: Advanced Healthcare Materials.

The age of wearable electronics is here. With devices that can count our steps and track our heartbeat, scientists and engineers have devised increasingly creative, convenient, and even fashionable ways to monitor human health in real time. Despite their convenience, many of these devices may never be as accurate as the bulky transdermal electrodes and instruments used in medical practice-at least not in their current form. A team of researchers in France have developed a way to fabricate small bioelectronic sensors that are both highly sensitive and comfortable to wear and that could one day even help rehabilitate injured muscles.

A major problem faced by the bioelectronics industry, especially for sensors, is fundamentally a materials science issue: poor contact between dissimilar surfaces. How can soft, wet tissue be interfaced with dry, solid-state electronics to detect biosignals and transmit vital data?

In clinics and medical laboratories throughout the world, this problem is alleviated to some extent by spreading conducting pastes or gels on transdermal electrodes before attaching them to the skin. This helps improve adhesion and electrical conduction at first, but the stability of these electrodes tends to decrease over time as sweat builds up, seriously degrading the performance of the electrodes and devices. Most sensors of this type are therefore not well suited for continuous use.

Researchers have begun to develop bioelectronic sensors that incorporate conducting polymers. Water-soluble polymers of this type such as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), or PEDOT, can be made compatible with human tissue while maintaining sufficient conductivity for monitoring. And because the flexibility of these polymers is limited only by the substrate on which they are coated, what better substrate to use for a wearable sensor than clothes?

That is the type of reasoning that led Esma Ismailova, a research engineer at École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne, and her team to develop an all-organic, textile-based electrode. Inspired by the Japanese art of hand-dyeing kimonos, the French researchers developed a special method for printing a PEDOT-based conductive ink directly onto polyester fabric, as reported in a recent issue of Advanced Healthcare Materials (doi: 10.1002/adhm.201600299 ). By adding an ionic liquid gel between the printed electrode and the skin, the team showed that they could record electrical signals from muscles in the lower leg of human patients. The device was sensitive enough to differentiate between high and low amounts of effort as patients flexed their foot, rivaling the performance of the bulky systems used in the clinic.

“We showed that the textile electrode is highly conformable to the shape of the body. But also, something very interesting we observed is that we have less movement in artifacts using this textile platform than electrodes currently used in the medical field,” says Ismailova.

Additionally, the researchers showed that the electrical signaling supported by their device could go both ways. By applying a voltage similar to that used to stimulate muscles during physical rehabilitation, they were able to induce involuntary flexing in their patients, a novel feature for an electrode containing no metallic parts.

One of the most innovative components of the research team’s electrode is the use of an ionic liquid gel as a conducting interface with the skin. “The use of ionic liquids in this context is pretty exciting,” says Christopher Bettinger, an associate professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who was not affiliated with the study.

“Ionic liquids are usually thought of as exotic solvents for chemistry, or for making conducting layers in batteries,” says Bettinger. “So to see them being used to interface directly with humans is very interesting.”

The ionic liquid-based gel used by researchers offers a few advantages over the gels and pastes used in conventional medical-grade electrodes. It does not degrade when it mixes with sweat or dry over long periods of use, which means the sensor can maintain high performance during long periods of high activity. Ismailova envisions being able to integrate this type of sensor into a soccer player’s sock, for example. The sensor could reliably monitor the athlete’s performance but also provide stimulation in the case of a lower leg injury.

For now, however, Ismailova stresses that their work is largely a proof of concept. Despite the improved compatibility provided by the ionic liquid gel in their design, ensuring good contact under various environmental conditions and for various body types remains an ongoing challenge. Then, she says, there remains the question of how the electrode will be powered wirelessly to maximize wearability and comfort. But Ismailova looks forward to tackling these and other issues as she and her team work to make this technology affordable and available to everyone.

Source Article: Materials360

This Paraplegic Man Used A Wii Board to Stand Again

Treating patients with spinal cord injuries has always been a tricky process, especially in those with limited mobility. But physicians and researchers have made headway with treatment programs that rely on robotics, namely exoskeletons, that have resulted in patients regaining some movement back. Most of it has been pretty conservative, but a select few patients have experienced some exciting breakthroughs, including the ability to possibly walk once more, with assistance.

That’s why this patient named Mark’s progress is so promising. A full spinal cord injury robbed him of any sensation below the midsection, but with the aid of an exoskeleton from IHMC, the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, Mark is able to stand on a Wii Balance Board for balance training. Without sensation in his legs to guide him he’d normally fall over, but he’s able to learn how to position himself properly to not collapse on the floor as the exoskeleton holds him up. The Balance Board offers extra training and feedback on weight distribution which aids his newfound ability to stay upright, and it’s pretty inspiring to see.

It’s empowering stuff, watching paralyzed patients regain the skills they need to potentially win back the mobility robbed from them when they were injured. It’s obviously baby steps for now for Mark, but it’s thrilling to think about anyone suffering from paralysis regaining independence and even walking again in the future. Plus, it’s a great use for that Wii Balance Board that’s no doubt gathering dust in your closet.

Source Article: PopSci

Google Partners with Pharma Giant on ‘Bioelectronic’ Meds

LONDON—The company formerly known as Google Life Sciences LLC and GlaxoSmithKline plc (Brentford, England) have agreed to form a joint venture to develop bioelectronics including such technologies as implanted neurostimulators.

Galvani Bioelectronics Ltd. will be headquartered in the UK and GSK will own 55% and Verily Life Sciences LLC, previously Google Life Sciences, will own 45%. The two parent companies are contributing existing intellectual property and plan to invest up to $700 million (about £540 million) in Galvani over the next seven years subject to the company meeting discovery and development milestones, GSK said.

GSK has been active in bioelectronics since 2012 and said it believes that chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and asthma could potentially be treated using electronic stimulation of nerve pathways.

Initial work will focus on establishing clinical proofs of principle in inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders, including type 2 diabetes, and developing associated miniaturised, precision devices.

Moncef Slaoui, GSK’s Chairman of Global Vaccines, who was instrumental in establishing GSK’s investments in the field of bioelectronics, will chair the board of the new company. He said: “Many of the processes of the human body are controlled by electrical signals firing between the nervous system and the body’s organs, which may become distorted in many chronic diseases. Bioelectronic medicine’s vision is to employ the latest advances in biology and technology to interpret this electrical conversation and to correct the irregular patterns found in disease states, using miniaturised devices attached to individual nerves. If successful, this approach offers the potential for a new therapeutic modality alongside traditional medicines and vaccines.”

Galvani Bioelectronics will be fully consolidated in GSK’s financial statements and headquartered within GSK’s global R&D centre at Stevenage in the UK, with a second research hub at Verily’s facilities in South San Francisco. It will initially employ around 30 expert scientists, engineers and clinicians.

The deal is expected to close before the end of 2016.

Source Article: EE Times

Electro convulsive therapy aims to help those suffering with mental illness

Brain Stimulation Therapy_1471302496417_5307876_ver1.0

With the ever increasing demand to better understand how to treat mental health problems, scientists are working to build new ways that address psychiatric disorders, like PTSD, which has led to a deeper understanding of the electrical signals in our brains.

As many as one in five veterans return from war with post-traumatic stress disorder. Their current options for treatment include behavioral therapy and medicines.

But those options don’t address the electrical circuitry governing our bodies and our brains.

“We’ve focused a lot on the chemical side because in the mid-20th century we began to develop the first medications that affected neurotransmitters. The other side, the electrical, and that’s been less exploited as a treatment potential,” says Dr. Darin Dougherty, Director of the Division of Neurotherapeutics and the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

With funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, scientists are working to build new ways to treat psychiatric disorders, like PTSD, through deeper understandings of the electrical signals in our brains.

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Spinal Cord Stimulation Devices Market to Grow at CAGR of 4.84% to 2020

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016 – Market Study Report

MarketStudyReport.com adds “Global Spinal Cord Stimulation Devices Market 2016-2020” new report to its research database. The report spread across 62 pages with table and figures in it.

Research analysts forecast the global spinal cord stimulation (SCS) devices market to grow at a CAGR of 4.84% during the period 2016-2020.

About Neurostimulation

Neurostimulation devices are gaining acceptance as an alternative therapy for certain chronic pain conditions. These devices have also been used in the management of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. The currently available neurostimulators mainly focus on SCS, deep brain stimulation (DBS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), and sacral nerve stimulation (SNS).

Source Article: Newsmaker.com

One of the Best Biotech Stocks to Buy Now in This Booming $25 Billion Industry

scientist-hands-tech

There is a groundbreaking new technology that’s revolutionizing the biotech industry and leading to the creation of a new field worth $25 billion.

For investors, we’ve found one of thebest biotech stocks to buy today that’s at the center of this emerging industry. Before we get to this stock to buy, here’s a look at the $25 billion “bioelectronics” industry…

When people think about the word “technology,” most think of smartphones or computers. But over the last several decades, technology has also changed the way medicine is practiced.

The merging of technology, medicine, and molecular biology has spurred a revolutionary new future in a field called bioelectronic medicine.

Editor’s Note: The Internet of Things will revolutionize the way we live. And five companies will be at the center of this $6 trillion revolution…

At its core, bioelectronic medicine is the electrical signal used by the nervous system to communicate information. Virtually every cell in our body is directly or indirectly controlled by these neural signals.

Bioelectronic medicine technologies can record, stimulate, and block neural signaling. This is revolutionary because it will change the way diseases and injuries are treated. Some of the most common ailments that will be targeted by these therapies are rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, paralysis, and even bleeding.

The approach promises to be much more effective than traditional drugs. It’s also safer and more cost effective. Best of all for patients, these therapies do not come with significant side effects.

That’s why we’re targeting this particular subsector when looking for the best biotech stocks to buy today.

Here’s how treatment for a child with asthma will change using bioelectronics.

With bioelectronics, doctors could wrap tiny devices around nerves in the lungs. Employing those devices, doctors could then alter electric signals in order to ease tension in the lungs.

According to market researcher Global Market Insights, the bioelectronics market will be worth more than $25 billion by 2023.

Urgent: Our Newest Gold Price Prediction Shows 271% Returns by 2020

And Money Morning Director of Tech & Venture Capital Michael A. Robinson has found the best way to tap this exciting new field. Not only is this one of the best biotech stocks to buy in bioelectronics, but it’s also tapping into another $200 billion industry…

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