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Augmenting physiotherapy via neurofeedback and neurostimulation: Key neurotechnology patent #43

therapy control

– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 8,121,694

Today we are shar­ing a fas­ci­nat­ing patent from Medtron­ic.  (As men­tioned, we are fea­tur­ing 50 foun­da­tion­al Per­va­sive Neu­rotech patents, from old­er to new­er by issue date)

U.S. Patent No. 8,121,694: Therapy control based on a patient movement state

  • Assignee(s): Medtron­ic, Inc.
  • Inventor(s): Gre­go­ry F. Mol­nar, Steven S. Gill, Kei­th A, Miesel, Mark S. Lent, Tim­o­thy J. Deni­son, Eric J. Panken, Carl D. Wahlstrand, Jonathan C. Werder
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: Neu­ro-mon­i­tor­ing
  • Issue Date: Feb­ru­ary 21, 2012

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘694 patent dis­clos­es meth­ods to treat patients afflict­ed with move­ment or oth­er neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­ders through brain-sig­nal feed­back. Where­as con­ven­tion­al treat­ments involv­ing neu­rostim­u­la­tion to aid phys­i­cal reha­bil­i­ta­tion tedious­ly require the patient to explic­it­ly sig­nal they are mov­ing (or are about to move) in order to trig­ger stim­u­la­tion, the ‘694 patent dis­clos­es meth­ods for auto­mat­ic detec­tion of move­ment or planned move­ment of spe­cif­ic body parts or actions (e.g., arm move­ments, stand­ing, walk­ing, etc.) via EEG sig­nals.

While the ‘694 patent dis­clos­es stim­u­la­tion tech­niques with implantable devices, the claims do not explic­it­ly recite inva­sive lim­i­ta­tions and, there­fore, the ‘694 patent may be rea­son­ably con­strued as span­ning inva­sive and non-inva­sive tech­niques. The inven­tive con­cept of com­bin­ing neu­ro­feed­back and neu­rostim­u­la­tion into phys­io­ther­a­py, the exten­sive spec­i­fi­ca­tion (includ­ing 28 illus­tra­tion sheets and 29 pages of writ­ten dis­clo­sure), sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of appli­ca­tion for­ward cita­tions (183 total cita­tions at an aver­age of 17 cita­tions per year) and fair­ly broad inde­pen­dent claim cov­er­age are among the fac­tors mak­ing the ‘694 patent a key non-inva­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


A move­ment state of a patient is detect­ed based on brain sig­nals, such as an elec­troen­cephalo­gram (EEG) sig­nal. In some exam­ples, a brain sig­nal with­in a dor­sal-lat­er­al pre­frontal cor­tex of a brain of the patient indica­tive of prospec­tive move­ment of the patient may be sensed in order to detect the move­ment state. The move­ment state may include the brain state that indi­cates the patient is intend­ing on ini­ti­at­ing move­ment, ini­ti­at­ing move­ment, attempt­ing to ini­ti­ate move­ment or is actu­al­ly mov­ing. In some exam­ples, upon detect­ing the move­ment state, a move­ment dis­or­der ther­a­py is deliv­ered to the patient. In some exam­ples, the ther­a­py deliv­ery is deac­ti­vat­ed upon detect­ing the patient is no longer in a move­ment state or that the patient has suc­cess­ful­ly ini­ti­at­ed move­ment. In addi­tion, in some exam­ples, the move­ment state detect­ed based on the brain sig­nals may be con­firmed based on a sig­nal from a motion sen­sor.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 1. A method com­pris­ing:

  • mon­i­tor­ing a bio­elec­tri­cal brain sig­nal from a brain of a patient;
  • deter­min­ing the brain sig­nal indi­cates the patient is in a move­ment state, where­in the brain sig­nal that indi­cates the patient is in the move­ment state results from a voli­tion­al patient move­ment or voli­tion­al inten­tion to move;
  • at a first time, con­trol­ling deliv­ery of ther­a­py to the patient based on deter­min­ing the brain sig­nal indi­cates the patient is in the move­ment state;
  • at a sec­ond time fol­low­ing the first time, deter­min­ing whether the patient is in the move­ment state; and
  • con­trol­ling the deliv­ery of the ther­a­py to the patient based on whether the patient is in the move­ment state at the sec­ond time fol­low­ing the first time.

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, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.