Implanted sensors track dopamine for a year

Helen Schwerdt, Ann Graybiel, Michael Cima, Bob Langer, and MIT colleagues have developed and implantable sensor that can measure dopamine in the brain of rodents for more than one year.  They believe that this can inform the treatment and understanding of Parkinson’s and other brain diseases.

According to Graybiel, “Despite all that is known about dopamine as a crucial signaling molecule in the brain, implicated in neurologic and neuropsychiatric conditions as well as our abilty to learn, it has been impossible to monitor changes in the online release of dopamine over time periods long enough to relate these to clinical conditions.”

The sensors arenearly invisible to the immune system, avoiding scar tissue that would impede accuracy. After  implantation, populations of microglia  and astrocytes were the same as those in brain tissue that did not have the probes.

In a recent animal  study, three to five sensors per were implanted 5 millimeters deep in the striatum. Readings were taken every few weeks, after dopamine release was stimulated in the brainstem, traveling to the striatum. Measurements remained consistent for up to 393 days.

If developed for use in humans, these sensors could be useful for monitoring Parkinson’s patients who receive deep brain stimulation.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

DARPA: Three aircraft virtually controlled with brain chip

Building on 2015 research that enabled a paralyzed person to virtually control an F-35 jet, DARPA’s Justin Sanchez has announced that the brain can be used to command and control three types of aircraft simultaneously.

Click to view Justin Sanchez’s talk at ApplySci’s 2018 conference at Stanford University


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

VR + motion capture to study movement, sensory processing, in autism, AD, TBI

MoBi, developed by John Foxe at the University of Rochester, combines VR, EEG, and motion capture sensors to study movement difficulties associated with neurological disorders.

According to Foxe, “The MoBI system allows us to get people walking, using their senses, and solving the types of tasks you face every day, all the while measuring brain activity and tracking how the processes associated with cognition and movement interact.”

Motion sensor and EEG data, collected while a subject is walking in a virtual environment, are synchronized, allowing researchers to track which areas of the brain are being activated when walking or performing task. Brain response while moving, performing tasks, or doing both at the same time, is analyzed.

This technique could potentially guide treatment in Autism, dementia, and TBI, characterized by difficulty in processing sensory information from multiple sources and an abnormal gait.

Click to view University of Rochester video


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

PREFERRED REGISTRATION AVAILABLE THROUGH TODAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH

Brain imaging to detect suicidal thoughts

Last year, Carnegie Mellon professor Marcel Just and Pitt professor David Brent used brain imagining to identify suicidal thoughts.

Supported by the NIMH, they are now working to establish reliable neurocognitive markers of suicidal ideation and attempt. They will examine the differences in brain activation patterns between suicidal and non-suicidal young adults as they think about words related to suicide — such as positive and negative concepts — and use machine learning to identify neural signatures of suicidal ideation and behavior.

According to Just,  “We were previously able to obtain consistent neural signatures to determine whether someone was thinking about objects like a banana or a hammer by examining their fMRI brain activation patterns. But now we are able to tell whether someone is thinking about ‘trouble’ or ‘death’ in an unusual way. The alterations in the signatures of these concepts are the ‘neurocognitive thought markers’ that our machine learning program looks for.”


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

PREFERRED REGISTRATION AVAILABLE THROUGH FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH

AI predicts response to antipsychotic drugs, could distinguish between disorders

Lawson Health Research Institute, Mind Research Network and Brainnetome Center researchers have developed an algorithm that analyzes brain scans to classify illness in patients with complex mood disorders and help predict their response to medication.

A recent study analyzed and compared fMRI scans of those with MDD, bipolar I,  and no history of mental illness, and found that each group’s brain networks differed, including regions in the default mode network and thalamus.

When tested against participants with a known MDD or Bipolar I diagnosis, the algorithm correctly classified illness with 92.4 per cent accuracy.

The team also imaged the brains of 12 complex mood disorder patients with out a clear diagnosis, to predict diagnosis and examine medication response.

The researchers hypothesized that participants classified by the algorithm as having MDD would respond to antidepressants while those classified as having bipolar I would respond to mood stabilizers. When tested with the complex patients, 11 out of 12 responded to the medication predicted by the algorithm.

According to lead researcher Elizabeth Osuch:: “This study takes a major step towards finding a biomarker of medication response in emerging adults with complex mood disorders. It also suggests that we may one day have an objective measure of psychiatric illness through brain imaging that would make diagnosis faster, more effective and more consistent across health care providers.”


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

AI speeds MRI scans

Facebook and NYU’s fastMRI project, led by Larry Zitnick, uses AI in an attempt to make MRI imaging 10 times faster. Neural networks will be trained to fill in missing or degraded parts of scans, turning them from low resolution into high. The goal is to significantly reduce the time patients must lie motionless inside an MRI machine.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

Wireless system could track tumors, dispense medicine

Dina Katabi and MIT CSAIL colleagues have developed ReMix, which uses lo power wireless signals to pinponit the location of implants in the body.  The tiny implants could be used as tracking devices on shifting tumors to monitor  movements, and in the future to deliver drugs to specific regions.

The technology showed centimeter-level accuracy in animal tests.

Markers in the body reflect the signal transmitted by the wireless device outside the body, therefore a battery or external power source are not required.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

Invasive deep brain stimulation for alcoholism?

Stanford’s Casey Halpern and Allen Ho have used deep brain stimulation to target nucleus accumbens, thought to reduce impulsive behavior, to combat alcoholism in animal and pilot human studies.

DBS is used in severe Parkinson’s disease and is not approved by the FDA for addiction. Infection and other complications are risks of this invasive surgery.

ApplySci hopes that strides in behavioral therapy, including Alcoholics Anonymous, will continue to improve outcomes in addicted individuals, diminishing the need for invasive procedures.

The Stanford study was published in Neurosurgical Focus.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

AI – optimized glioblastoma chemotherapy

Pratik Shah, Gregory Yauney,  and MIT Media Lab researchers have developed an AI  model that could make glioblastoma chemotherapy regimens less toxic but still effective. It analyzes current regimens and iteratively adjusts doses to optimize treatment with the lowest possible potency and frequency toreduce tumor sizes.

In simulated trials of 50 patients, the machine-learning model designed treatment cycles that reduced the potency to a quarter or half of the doses It often skipped administration, which were then scheduled twice a year instead of monthly.

Reinforced learning was used to teach the model to favor certain behavior that lead to a desired outcome.  A combination of  temozolomide and procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine, administered over weeks or months, were studied.

As the model explored the regimen, at each planned dosing interval it decided on actions. It either initiated or withheld a dose. If it administered, it then decided if the entire dose, or a portion, was necessary. It pinged another clinical model with each action to see if the the mean tumor diameter shrunk.

When full doses were given, the model was penalized, so it instead chose fewer, smaller doses. According to Shah, harmful actions were reduced to get to the desired outcome.

The J Crain Venter Institute’s Nicholas Schork said that the model offers a major improvement over the conventional “eye-balling” method of administering doses, observing how patients respond, and adjusting accordingly.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

Wrist wearable measures blood counts, bacteria, air particles

Rutgers scientists Mehdi Javanmard and Abbas Furniturewalla have developed a wrist wearable that can count particles, including blood cells, bacteria, and organic or inorganic air particles. Red blood cell counts can indicate internal bleeding. High or low white blood cell counts can indicate cancers, such as leukemia, or other illnesses.

The plastic wristband includes a flexible circuit board and a thin biosensor with a channel, or pipe, with embedded gold electrodes. A circuit processes electrical signals, and a micro-controller digitizes data, which is transmitted via bluetooth. Blood samples are obtained through pinpricks, and fed through the channel, where the cells counted.

The goal is rapid blood test results with out  lab-based equipment.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane