We are partnering up with researchers towards innovative neurotherapies: CorTec is listed as industry partner for SPARC Program and BRAIN Initiative!
With SPARC Program and BRAIN Initiative the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have launched two important funding programs for innovative research that shall support the development of the next generation of neurotechnology and neurotherapies.
Both funding programs have established a network of industry partners who are offering their technology for neuromodulation applications. CorTec is now listed as partner for researchers funded by SPARC and BRAIN providing solutions like flat or cuff electrodes, encapsulation technology or the Brain Interchange system for closed-loop interaction with the neural system.
Both, SPARC Program and BRAIN Initiative are funding exciting research like for example the interdisciplinary project led by Edward Chang at the University of California, San Francisco which aims at decoding the functional architecture of the speech motor cortex.
“Step by step Dr. Chang’s research builds the fundamentals for eventually reading the words unspoken by patients suffering from paralysis”, commented CorTec CEO Dr. Joern Rickert. “Already five years ago he demonstrated in a study in collaboration with Robert Knight that is possible to understand simple sentences from the spectrograms reconstructed from ECoG recordings (Pasley et al. 2012). Now he is taking this work to the next level.”
Another project which also aims at understanding the production of language runs in collaboration between Nitin Tandon and Nathan Crone at the University of Texas and Johns Hopkins University: Using closed-loop direct cortical stimulation they want to modulate brain activity at identified nodes to provide insight into language processing inside the brain.
Closed-loop interaction with the nervous system is constantly gaining ground in top-level research.
Two projects are focusing on improved therapies of Movement disorders (Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor) based on closed-loop stimulation. While the project led by Philip Starr at the University of California, San Francisco addresses the detection of brain signals to the parameters of stimulation in the closed loop Aysegul Gunduz’s project at the University of Florida focuses on Essential Tremor. Due to the intermittent appearance of these symptoms continuous stimulation is likely unnecessary and could cause side effects that might be eliminated by introducing a closed-loop therapy.
“As to this moment we cannot be certain if side effects of continuous stimulation can be improved by ‘closing the loop’ and changing to adaptive stimulation patterns”, pointed out Prof. Dr. Volker A. Coenen, member of the Scientific Technical Advisory Board of CorTec. “Especially Essential tremor, which typically is treated with bilateral DBS, might cause speech and gait disturbances elicited by co-activation of the cerebellum . It is hard to understand why essential tremor is regarded as fluctuating since it typically is not (much unlike Parkinson’s disease). It might however be meaningful to reduce stimulation during tasks that do not require optimal tremor control. Never the less it is intuitive to try and ameliorate these effects by changing from continuous to adaptive stimulation technology. The two groups mentioned are certainly at the forefront of this DBS research.”