MRI-detected microbleeds may help determine disability after brain injury

NINDS researcher Lawrence Latour has used an advanced imaging method to detect vascular microbleeds after head injury.   The lesions, which are too small to be detected by CT, may predict worse outcomes.

439 head injury patients who were treated in the emergency department were studied. MRI scans within 48 hours of injury, and again during four subsequent visits, showed that 31% of participants had evidence of microbleeds. (58% with severe head injury showed microbleeds and 27% of mild cases.)

Patients with microbleeds were more likely to have a greater level of disability, based on a commonly used outcome scale, compared to patients with out.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech – Mikael Eliasson, Roche

DBS study shows long-term antidepressant effect in treatment-resistant depression

Helen Mayberg at Mount Sinai has published a study showing that deep brain stimulation of the subcallosal cingulate provides a lasting antidepressant effect in treatment-resistant depression.

According to Mayberg: “Over eight years of observation, most of our study participants experienced an antidepressant response to the deep brain stimulation of Area 25 that was robust and sustained. Given that patients with treatment-resistant depression are highly susceptible to recurrent depressive episodes, the ability of DBS to support long-term maintenance of an antidepressant response and prevention of relapse is a treatment advance that can mean the difference between getting on with your life or always looking over your shoulder for your next debilitating depressive episode.”

The study documents 4-8 years of outcomes data for 28 patients. Response and remission rates were maintained at or above 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively, through years 2-8 of the follow-up period. Three-quarters of all participants met the treatment response criterion for more than half of their participation in the study, with 21 percent of all participants demonstrating continuous response to treatment from the first year forward. Of 28 participants, 14 completed at least eight years of follow-up, 11 others completed at least four years, and three dropped out prior to eight years of participation.

The researchers conclude that data presented through this study support the long-term safety and sustained efficacy of SCC DBS for treatment-resistant depression.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

Implanted electrodes + algorithm allow thought-driven 4 limb exoskeleton control

Alim Louis Benabid and Clinatec/University of Grenoble colleagues have developed a brain computer interface controlled exoskeleton that enabled a tetraplegic man to walk and move his arms.  Two 64 electrode brain implants drove the system.

Benabid explained the benefits, stating that “previous brain-computer studies have used more invasive recording devices implanted beneath the outermost membrane of the brain, where they eventually stop working. They have also been connected to wires, limited to creating movement in just one limb, or have focused on restoring movement to patients’ own muscles.”

The exoskeleton can only be used in the lab at this point, as it still must be connected to a ceiling-harness, since it is unable to make small adjustments necessary to prevent falls.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

CTRL-Labs acquired by Facebook for 500M – 1B

Congratulations to CTRL-Labs and Lux Capital on Facebook’s acquisition of the four year old Neurotech startup. The company, whose technology assists in decoding brain activity and intention, will join Facebook’s AR/VR team.

CTRL-Labs participated in a recent ApplySci panel of startups at Stanford led by Lux Capital’s Shahin Farshchi. Facebook presented its Brain Computer Interface work at the ApplySci conference at the MIT Media Lab in 2017.

ApplySci’s next conference, at Harvard Medical School, will take place on November 14, 2019. It will again include a panel of startups — perhaps the next unicorns — and a series of talks by leading brain and body health scientists.

I hope that you’ll join us.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti – Brown

Phone-based support for psychosis

University of Washington’s Dror Ben Zeev has published a paper detailing a wide array of phone-based technology meant to support the recovery of psychosis throughout life — from early detection to symptom management to vocational rehabilitation,

The study includes self reported mental health assessments, self-management interventions, medication reminders, messages from case managers, tele-therapy, and skill development and job training software.

The private nature and constant availability of these resources, with out the need for travel, can increase the level of support.

Ben Zeev leads the U of W mHealth for Mental Health Program, focused on providing smart technology based services to those suffering from mental illness.  His work includes projects in Ghana and the West Bank, where access to care is limited, and the stigma surrounding mental illness is high, making the phone an ideal solution.


REGISTRATION RATES INCREASE SEPTEMBER 20 | Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti – Brown

Sensor tracks cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics

Georgia Tech’s Woon-Hong Yeo has developed a 3D-printed, stretchable, battery-free, wireless sensor, implanted in brain blood vessels to measure incoming blood flow, to evaluate aneurysm healing.  The tiny device wraps around stents or diverters implanted to control blood flow in affected vessels. It is believed to be the first demonstration of aerosol jet 3D printing to produce an implantable, stretchable sensing system for wireless monitoring.

Inserted using a catheter, the sensor uses inductive coupling of signals to allow wireless detection of biomimetic cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics.

Current cerebral aneurysms monitoring requires repeated angiogram imaging with potentially harmful contrast materials. Cost and potential negative effects limit the use of these techniques.  A sensor placed in a blood vessel could allow more frequent evaluations without the use of imaging dyes.


REGISTRATION RATES INCREASE SEPTEMBER 20 | Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche

AI detects brain aneurysms, predicts rupture risk in surgery

Fujitsu, GE Healthcare, Macquarie University and Macquarie Medical Imaging are using AI to detect and monitor brain aneurysms on scans faster and more efficiently. Fujitsu will use AI to analyze brain images generated by GE’s Revolution C scanner and an algorithm that detect abnormalities and aneurysms. The algorithm will be capable of highlighting an arterial ring at the base of the brain that can have one or more aneurysms, and the tech will track aneurysms over time.The next phase will include a planning tool for surgical stent intervention. Fluid dynamic modeling will be used to predict the risk of aneurysm rupture.

Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – David Rhew, Microsoft

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 at Stanford University featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – David Rhew, Microsoft – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer

New electrodes, brain signal analysis, for smaller, lower power, wireless BCI

Building on his prior brain-controlled prosthetic work, Stanford’s Krishna Shenoy has developed a simpler way to study brain electrical activity, which he believes will lead to tiny, low-power, wireless brain sensors that would bring thought-controlled prosthetics into much wider use.

The method involved decoding neural activity in aggregate, instead of  “spike sorting.”  Spike sorting must be done for every neuron in every experiment, taking thousands of research hours.  Future brain sensors, with 1,000 or more electrodes — up from 100 today — would take a neuroscientist 100 hours or more to sort the spikes by hand for every experiment.

In the study, the researchers used a  statistics theory  to uncover patterns of brain activity when several neurons are recorded on a single electrode. An electrode designed to pick up brain signals in mice used the technology to record brain signals of rhesus monkeys. Hundreds of neurons were recorded at the same time, and accurately portrayed the monkey’s brain activity, without spike sorting.

The team believes that this work will ultimately lead to neural implants with simpler electronics, to track more neurons, more accurately than before.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School and the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 at Stanford University

Blood-brain-barrier recreated inside organ chip with pluripotent stem cells

Clive Svendsen, Gad Vatine, and  Cedars Sinai and Ben Gurion University of the Negev colleagues  have  recreated  the blood-brain barrier outside of the body using induced pluripotent stem cells for the first time.  In a study, the recreated bbb functioned as it would in the individual who provided the cells to make it. This could facilitate a new understanding of brain disease and/or predict which drugs will work best for an individual.

The stem cells were used to create the neurons, blood-vessel linings and support cells, which comprise the blood-brain barrier. They were placed inside organ-chips, which recreated the body’s microenvironment with the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience.

The living cells formed a functioning unit of a blood-brain barrier that act as it does in the body, including blocking entry of certain drugs. Significantly, when this blood-brain barrier was derived from cells of patients with Huntington’s disease or Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome, a rare congenital neurological disorder, the barrier malfunctioned in the same way that it does in patients with these diseases.

This is the first time that induced pluripotent stem cells were used generate a functioning blood-brain barrier, inside an Organ-Chip, that displayed a characteristic defect of the individual patient’s disease.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School and the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 at Stanford University