Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Distance detection improves effect of spinal cord stimulation

20.02.2003


The effect of spinal cord stimulation, in chronic pain treatment, can be drastically improved using continuous distance detection. The strength of the stimulation pulses then depends on the distance measured between the electrodes and the spinal cord. In this way, negative side-effects belong to the past. These side-effects arise with a varying distance, causing diminished pain treatment in case of a distance that is too large, or unwanted sensations when the distance is too small. Emiel Dijkstra of the University of Twente developed a distance detection system. He finishes his PhD-research with the MESA+ research institute on February 27.



Spinal cord stimulation is effective in treatment of chronic pain. An electrode-array is implanted, sending short pulses to the spinal cord. This artificial nerve stimulation blocks certain pain signals. The electrodes have a fixed position, however, this means that the distance varies with movements of the patient. By measuring this distance along with the stimulation, the pulses can be adjusted continuously.

From MRI-scans, Dijkstra concludes that the distance can vary up to several millimeters. This has a direct effect on the signal reaching the spinal cord. With maximum distance, the signal can be too weak to have an effect. With minimum distance, the effect can be that the patient feels the pulses themselves, this is unpleasant as well. Using ultrasound, Dijkstra is now able to detect the distance. He therefore places a piezo-electric transducer on the electro-array.


This transducer has to face strict demands. It has to be able to distinguish between the spinal cord and the surrounding fluid, while the acoustic difference between them is small. Secondly, it has to be integrated along with the implantable electrodes. Its size therefore may not exceed 25 square millimetres, with a thickness of not more than two millimetres. And it has to be highly biocompatible: the human body has to accept this ‘intruder’.

In addition to these demands, the energy consumption must be close to zero. The electrode array is fed from outside the body, using radio signals, or a complete stimulation system is implanted in the abdomen region. In both cases, the distance detector may not consume substantial electric power.

Electric eals
The combination of electrodes, distance detection and control electronics provides a more comfortable and precise way of pain treatment. While in ancient Rome, already electric eals were used to treat pain, Dijkstra’s method is more friendly for the patient.

Emiel Dijkstra MscEE has performed his research under supervision of prof. Piet Bergveld within the MESA+ Institute of the University of Twente, and he was financially supported by Medtronic Inc., manufacturer of spinal cord stimulation electrodes.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mesaplus.utwente.nl/mutas/bios/
http://www.utwente.nl/nieuws/pers/cont_03-012.doc/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>