Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioengineering Could Improve Prosthetic Hand Use for Wounded Soldiers

15.10.2009
Modern tissue engineering developed at the University of Michigan could improve the function of prosthetic hands and possibly restore the sense of touch for injured patients.

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:
U-M Department of Surgery Division of Plastic Surgery
http://surgery.med.umich.edu/plastic/
American College of Surgeons 95th Annual Clinical Congress
http://www.facs.org/clincon2009/index.html

Shantell M. Kirkendoll | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://surgery.med.umich.edu/plastic/
http://www.facs.org/clincon2009/index.html
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

nachricht How gut bacteria can make us ill
18.01.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation

18.01.2017 | Information Technology

Reducing household waste with less energy

18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>