European scientists are studying a new generation of neuro-prostheses. The target patients are people with motor disabilities due to brain injuries, such as stroke
Neurological disorders and traumas disrupt the connections between brain and body, causing paralysis for millions of people worldwide. The number of sufferers is likely to increase in the coming years due the ageing population, while current assistive technology is still limited. These problems will be brought to public attention during the International day of people with disability on 3 December.
Researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (which has developed the renowned humanoid sense-equipped robot iCub) are studying tools capable of repairing brain areas damaged by a traumatic injury or a stroke. The scientists, working under the European FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) project Brain Bow, are preparing a new generation of neuro-prostheses, which are devices capable of restoring communication in neuronal circuits, replacing the portion of the brain where the damage is located. Currently, all rehabilitation practices and techniques work only on the limbs via the peripheral nervous system.
Music credits: Fabian Measures via freemusicarchive.org
Research projects in this story
The Brain Bow project focuses on the development of innovative neuroprostheses. The main goal is to restore neuronal connections and activity among in-vitro neurons by connecting them to an artificial system. This technique may be used in the future to treat the consequences of damages to the brain tissues caused by accidents or strokes.