Brain stimulation using magnetic fields: Key Neurotech Patent #12


– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 6,572,528

Today we are dis­cussing a 2003 patent, assigned to McLean Hos­pi­tal, pio­neer­ing brain stim­u­la­tion techniques.

U.S. Patent No. 6,572,528: Mag­net­ic field stim­u­la­tion techniques

  • Assignee(s): McLean Hospital
  • Inventor(s): Michael L. Rohan, Aimee Par­row, Per­ry F. Renshaw
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: Hybrid
  • Issue Date: June 3, 2003

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘528 patent dis­clos­es mag­net­ic stim­u­la­tion tech­niques for enhanc­ing brain func­tion with a vari­ety of stim­u­la­tion tech­niques. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion, hav­ing just four illus­tra­tion sheets and four pages of writ­ten mate­r­i­al, may raise ques­tion of the ade­qua­cy of sup­port for claimed sub­ject mat­ter. Despite what might be con­sid­ered to be a sparse spec­i­fi­ca­tion, the four inde­pen­dent claims pro­duce a nice­ly-designed pick­et fence around the use of time-vary­ing mag­net­ic fields to enhance brain func­tion, trad­ing off lim­i­ta­tions between var­i­ous fea­tures of the mag­net­ic field (e.g., pulse strength, direc­tion­al­i­ty, polar­i­ty, etc.). These inde­pen­dent claims, in tan­dem with depen­dent claims enu­mer­at­ing var­i­ous oth­er fea­tures of the mag­net­ic field and tar­get­ed regions of the brain, con­tribute to mak­ing the ‘528 patent a key non-inva­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


The inven­tion involves enhanc­ing brain func­tion by stim­u­lat­ing the brain using mag­net­ic fields. Appli­ca­tions of the new meth­ods include improv­ing the con­di­tion of indi­vid­u­als with cog­ni­tive dis­or­ders, such as depres­sion, and study­ing the effects of neur­al stim­u­la­tion using induced elec­tric fields. These tech­niques can avoid dele­te­ri­ous effects of psy­chotrop­ic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal treat­ments, and pro­vide a rel­a­tive­ly safe, com­fort­able, inex­pen­sive means of direct cra­nial stimulation.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 22. A method of enhanc­ing brain func­tion, comprising:

  • select­ing a sub­ject for enhance­ment of brain func­tion using a mag­net­ic field;
  • gen­er­at­ing a time-vary­ing gra­di­ent mag­net­ic field that is sub­stan­tial­ly uni­form and uni­di­rec­tion­al; and
  • sub­ject­ing the sub­jec­t’s head to the time-vary­ing mag­net­ic field.

To learn more about mar­ket data, trends and lead­ing com­pa­nies in the dig­i­tal brain health space –dig­i­tal plat­forms for brain/ cog­ni­tive assess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and enhance­ment– check out this mar­ket report. To learn more about our analy­sis of 10,000+ patent fil­ings, check out this IP & inno­va­tion neu­rotech report.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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