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 Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>