Today we highlight a very thought-provoking (pun intended) patent by Advanced Neuromodulation Systems. (As mentioned, we are featuring a foundational Pervasive Neurotech patent a day, from older to newer by issue date)
U.S. Patent No. 7,756,584: Methods and apparatus for effectuating a lasting change in a neural-function of a patient
- Assignee(s): Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Inc.
- Inventor(s): W. Douglas Sheffield, Andrew D. Firlik, Katrina S. Firlik
- Technology Category: Transcranial Stimulation
- Issue Date: July 13, 2010
The ‘584 patent discloses techniques for identifying stimulation sites of the brain to facilitate plasticity that can aid in rehabilitation of dysfunction resulting from a stroke, traumatic injury, etc. In an extensive specification (with 23 illustration sheets and 15 pages of written material), the ‘584 patent discloses identifying one or more regions that, if stimulated, will benefit the patient despite those region(s) neither being a directly damaged brain region nor being normally associated with the body part controlled by the damage brain region. By discerning additional stimulation areas, the ‘584 patent takes advantage of the brain’s ability to recruit and re-purpose various brain structures for a variety of brain functions. The valuable teaching to the field of stimulation-based rehabilitation, along with a substantial number of dependent claims covering likely treatment uses such as detecting novel stimulation sites using fMRI, are amongst the factors making the ‘584 patent a key non-invasive neurotechnology patent.
The following disclosure is drawn to methods of electrically stimulating areas of the brain in which neuroplasticity are occurring. The stimulation site may be different than the region in the brain where neural activity is typically present to perform the particular neural function according to the functional organization of the brain. The disclosure provides methods of identify the location in which neuroplasticity is occurring, not occurring or expected to occur.
Illustrative Claim 1. A method of effectuating a neural-function of a patient, comprising:
- selecting a stimulation site by (a) generating an intended neural activity by triggering a neural signal from an impaired body part affected by neural dysfunction of the patient’s brain, wherein triggering a neural signal includes moving, stimulating or moving and stimulating the impaired body part, (b) detecting a cortical region of the brain in which a response to neural activity occurs in reaction to the neural signal, the detected cortical region being at a cortical location of the brain different than a normal cortical location of the brain where neural activity typically occurs to carry out a function of the impaired body part, and © selecting the stimulation site to be within the detected cortical region;
- positioning at least a first electrode at the stimulation site; and
- applying an electrical potential to pass a current through the first electrode.