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Enabling deep, focused transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): Key neurotechnology patent #34

magnetic stimulation

– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 7,520,848

Today we are shar­ing a key 2009 patent, assigned to Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, that enables the stim­u­la­tion of deep­er struc­tures of the brain with­out over­whelm­ing super­fi­cial struc­tures that are not the focus of treat­ment. (As men­tioned, we are fea­tur­ing a foun­da­tion­al Per­va­sive Neu­rotech patent a day, from old­er to new­er by issue date)

U.S. Patent No. 7,520,848: Robot­ic appa­ra­tus for tar­get­ing and pro­duc­ing deep, focused tran­scra­nial mag­net­ic stim­u­la­tion

  • Assignee(s): Board of Trustees of the Leland Stan­ford Junior Uni­ver­si­ty
  • Inventor(s): M. Bret Schnei­der, David J. Mishele­vich
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: Tran­scra­nial Stim­u­la­tion
  • Issue Date: April 21, 2009

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘848 patent dis­clos­es tech­niques for stim­u­lat­ing deep­er struc­tures of the brain with­out over­whelm­ing super­fi­cial struc­tures that are not the focus of treat­ment. By pro­vid­ing stim­u­la­tion (i.e., cur­rent) from more than one loca­tion, a deep­er tar­get­ed struc­ture may be stim­u­lat­ed to be depo­lar­ized with suf­fi­cient fre­quen­cy (where stim­u­la­tion is alter­nat­ed from the var­i­ous stim­u­la­tion source loca­tions) such that repo­lar­iza­tion of the tar­get­ed areas nev­er occurs but repeat­ed stim­u­la­tion of super­fi­cial struc­tures is avoid­ed. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion, with 19 illus­tra­tion sheets and nine pages of writ­ten mate­r­i­al, appears to pro­vide exten­sive sup­port for the claimed inven­tions. While there may be oth­er means of avoid­ing over­stim­u­la­tion to non-tar­get­ed areas (that occurs dur­ing depo­lar­iza­tion), the dis­closed solu­tion of pro­vid­ing a suf­fi­cient amount of cur­rent through mul­ti­ple sources or direc­tions appears to be well-pro­tect­ed with the recit­ed claims. The exten­sive spec­i­fi­ca­tion, impor­tant prob­lem-space (of over­whelm­ing non-tar­get­ed areas in stim­u­la­tion treat­ment) and recita­tion of claims broad­ly pro­tect­ing the inven­tive con­cept are among the fac­tors mak­ing the ‘848 patent a key non­in­va­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


Tech­niques for apply­ing elec­tro­mag­net­ic ener­gy to deep, tar­get­ed areas with­out over­whelm­ing oth­er areas are pro­vid­ed. One or more coils are moved rel­a­tive to a tar­get area and mag­net­ic fields are applied to the tar­get from mul­ti­ple coil loca­tions. As a result, the aggre­gate elec­tro­magetic ener­gy applied to the tar­get over time is greater than sur­round­ing areas. Addi­tion­al­ly, a mod­el for test­ing and treat­ment plan­ning is pro­vid­ed.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 1. A method of apply­ing elec­tro­mag­net­ic ener­gy to a tar­get, com­pris­ing:

  • mov­ing a coil rel­a­tive to the tar­get; and
  • apply­ing cur­rent to the coil from a plu­ral­i­ty of loca­tions to direct mag­net­ic fields to the tar­get and mag­net­i­cal­ly stim­u­late the tar­get, where­in the cur­rent is applied to the coil at a suf­fi­cient­ly rapid fre­quen­cy pre­vent re-polar­iza­tion of the tar­get as the coil is moved, such that the mag­net­ic stim­u­la­tion of the tar­get is high­er at the tar­get than at a region inter­posed between the tar­get and the coil.

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.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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