Researchers will present their updated findings Wednesday at the 95th annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
The research project, which was funded by the Department of Department of Defense, arose from a need for better prosthetic devices for troops wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Most of these individuals are typically using a prosthesis design that was developed decades ago,” says Paul S. Cederna, M.D., a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at U-M Health System and associate professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School. “This effort is to make a prosthesis that moves like a normal hand.”
U-M researchers may help overcome some of the shortcomings of existing robotic prosthetics, which have limited motor control, provide no sensory feedback and can be uncomfortable and cumbersome to wear.
“There is a huge need for a better nerve interface to control the upper extremity prostheses,” says Cederna.
When a hand is amputated, the nerve endings in the arm continue to sprout branches, growing a mass of nerve fibers that send flawed signals back to the brain.
The researchers created what they called an “artificial neuromuscular junction” composed of muscle cells and a nano-sized polymer placed on a biological scaffold. Neuromuscular junctions are the body’s own nerve-muscle connections that enable the brain to control muscle movement.
That bioengineered scaffold was placed over the severed nerve endings like a sleeve.
The muscle cells on the scaffold and in the body bonded and the body’s native nerve sprouts fed electrical impulses into the tissue, creating a stable nerve-muscle connection.
In laboratory rats, the bioengineered interface relayed both motor and sensory electrical impulses and created a target for the nerve endings to grow properly.
“The polymer has the ability to pick up signals coming out of the nerve, and the nerve does not grow an abnormal mass of nerve fibers,” explains Cederna.
The animal studies indicate the interface may not only improve fine motor control of prostheses, but can also relay sensory perceptions such as touch and temperature back to the brain.
Laboratory rats with the interface responded to tickling of feet with appropriate motor signals to move the limb, says Cederna.
The Department of Defense and the Army have already provided $4.5 million in grants to support the research. Meanwhile, the research team has submitted a proposal to the Defense Advance Research Project Agency to begin testing the bioengineered interface in humans in three years.
Addtitional U-M authors of the study include William M. Kuzon, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., head of plastic surgery and professor of surgery; David C. Martin, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering; Daryl R. Kipke, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering; Melanie Urbancheck, Ph.D., research investigator; and Brent M. Egeland, M.D., surgical resident.Resources:
Further reports about: > Bioengineering > Neuromuscular junctions > Prosthetic > Prosthetic Hand Use > Wounded Soldiers > artificial neuromuscular junction > biomedical engineering > electrical impulses > flawed signals > mass of nerve fibers > muscle movement > nerve fiber > nerve-muscle connections > prosthesis design
New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)
Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy