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.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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