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A Slovenian inventor has developed a prototype of a wearable device for transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate brain in a non-invasive form for providing a therapy for several mental disorders and conditions. Future design will allow different types of stimulation and measuring of the effects. The inventor is looking for partners for further development of the device, especially in the field of neuroscience. The cooperation will be under research cooperation agreement.
Inventor from Slovenia has more than a decade of experience with the development of electronic devices for different companies. Some of the devices are already available on the market (multi-channel data-acquisition (DAQ) devices) and device used for medical purposes (innovative device for vibration therapy to ease and/or prevent pain). In the last period the development focus has shifted to devices for brain stimulation with the aim to overcome disadvantages of already available devices and techniques.
Neurological conditions are usually the result of overactive or underactive part of the brain neocortex. Transcranial electric stimulation (tES) therapies are based on the use of weak electric current to stimulate or suppress that part of the brain as a treatment for specific neurological conditions. Transcranial electric stimulation methods of brain utilize electrodes on the scalp for a short time and without the need for implementing them in the brain as deep brain stimulation (DBS) does. One of regularly used techniques is transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDSC) with a mentioned characteristics. This treatment can be used for specific mental disorders, depression, autism, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, etc. While results show improvements in the condition of the patients, the available devices are impractical and can be used in many cases only by neuro therapist, the accuracy is not very precise and electrodes cover larger part of head/brain than it is required for specific treatment. As a consequence, the current density is dispersed in brain tissue. The effect of therapy is usually assessed by additional device to measure electrical activity in the brain (electroencephalogram, EEG). Use of different devices with many cables hanging from the scalp can be stressful especially for patients with mental disorders and children.
Slovenian inventor developed alternative device as a working prototype for a non-invasive brain stimulation on the basis of transcranial direct-current stimulation and while high density is not implemented yet, the current results are promising. Electric current can be adjusted according to the needs and the age of the user. The device is designed to be wearable and to allow user to do other activities while the stimulation is active. The device utilizes light-emitting diodes (LED) as indicators about the status of stimulation and electrodes. It is also relatively small and electrodes can be attached or sewed to clothes. In the next step the device will be upgraded with high density stimulation with higher accuracy (high density transcranial direct current stimulation, HD-tDCS). It will also allow measuring the effectiveness of the therapy with the help of EEG in same device, along with the required software to use device with relative ease. There is also possibility to add transcranial alternating-current stimulation (tACS) and transcranial random-noise stimulation (tRNS).
Further development of the device will take the following directions:
To proceed to the next stages of the development, the Slovenian inventor is looking for international partners like research institutions, academia and/or companies to co-develop the device under the frame of research cooperation agreement.
Advantages & innovations
The prototype of the new device for non-invasive brain stimulation has several advantages: - It is smaller compared to devices already used by neuro therapists and it can be used as attached to the clothes, consequently allowing movement during the therapy. It makes device accepted by the children with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). - The design will allow combination of stimulation (high density transcranial direct-current stimulation, HD-tDCS) and measurement of effects in one device. - Prototype design allows also adjustability, where further development will allow different versions for market and for neuro therapists. - The design with HD-tDCS electrodes will be more focused and will stimulate only required part of the brain.
Stage of development
Under development/lab tested
Contact / source: Enterprise Europe Network (europa.eu)
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