Friday, January 24, 2014

The Brain Radio

The Brain Radio is a long-running French radio program:

THE BRAIN are Eva & Pascal Lebrain aka Puyo puyo, they run this radioshow from 1999, it deals with freaky electro, cheesy vintage, dry rock, movie themes and oddities in general. All is stuffed with absurd aphorisms, written by themselves most of the time.

The fun archive of playlists dates back to 2003 and includes 91 of the 129 radioshows.

The “Brain Radio” is also a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device that “Records and Emits Electrical Pulses,” according to an August 9, 2013 story in the MIT Technology Review:

A new brain implant that can record neural activity while it simultaneously delivers electric current has been implanted into a patient for the first time.

The new device from Medtronic, a Minneapolis-based medical device company, can also adjust its electrical output in response to the changing conditions of the brain. This automated control could one day improve deep-brain stimulation treatment and even enable doctors to use the device to treat more conditions, say experts.

This new generation device seems like what DARPA had in mind for its SUBNETS program, part of the BRAIN Initiative. The MIT Technology Review story continues:
The patient trials launched on Wednesday will test whether Medtronic’s new device can safely record electrical activity in a patient’s brain while also delivering electric currents. These tests will explore how patients’ brains respond to deep brain stimulation therapy. However, according to lab animal tests, the device is capable of not only sensing the electrical activity of the brain tissue it sits in, but of also changing its output accordingly.

The ultimate goal for the device is to provide responsive therapy by detecting brain signals and tweaking its output accordingly, says Lothar Krinke, general manager of the company’s deep brain stimulation division.

The Activa® PC+S Deep Brain Stimulation System was first implanted in a German patient with Parkinson’s disease. But now there's a new clinical trial for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) that will implant the device in the subgenual cingulate (Brodmann area 25):
The experiment described in this application is to use a new DBS device that can record the electrical activity in the brain around the site of stimulation. The electrical activity is known as Latent [sic] Field Potential (LFP) and is a reflection of the activity if the neural network. The new DBS device is an experimental device that has not been approved by the FDA, but allows for simultaneous recording of LFP while stimulation is being delivered. The device is manufactured by Medtronics and is known as Activa Primary Cell + Sensing(PC+S), but because it can be used to record the brain electrical activity it is also known as "the Brain Radio". The Brain Radio is based on an approved device commonly used for DBS for other conditions that has the added sensor capacity. The stimulation system is identical to that in the approved device. The goal of this investigation is to use the Brain Radio to study LFP in the brains of people with TRD before and during active stimulation. 

The device used in the aborted BROADEN Trial of DBS for TRD is manufactured by another company.

As I've mentioned previously, the goal of the SUBNETS program is to develop devices that both stimulate and record neural activity, and provide real-time data that can be decoded as reflecting a particular behavioral state... basically, a futuristic implant that can adjust its own stimulation parameters based on how the patient is doing.

The new DBS trial for intractable depression (which is not yet open for participant recruitment)...
...will recruit 10 patients with advanced TRD and implant them with the Brain Radio system. The recording system will be to record LFP over 3 years, while patients reesceive stimulation. A brief discontinuation study will be conducted after 6 months of stimulation when the device will be turned off and patterns of LFP changes will be recorded. All LFP measures will be correlated with the primary clinical response outcome metric, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.

The Journal of Neural Engineering has just published a paper outlining the results of a two year study that tested the Activa® PC+S neurostimulator in a rhesus monkey (Ryapolova-Webb et al., 2014): Chronic cortical and electromyographic recordings from a fully implantable device: preclinical experience in a nonhuman primate.

The senior author on that paper (neurosurgeon Dr. Philip Starr) was one of the first to implant the device in a Parkinson's patient in the US.

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