Motor Impairments and Paralysis
Implantable sensory/stimulation devices for treatment of motor impairments
As the Division Chief of Neurosurgery and Director of Epilepsy Surgery at Seattle Children’s, Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann conducts research on improving surgical techniques for epilepsy and other neurological diseases. One of the current surgical treatments for epilepsy uses internal brain implants to monitor brain signals and deliver stimulation to prevent abnormal signals. Dr. Ojemann recruits patients who are undergoing this treatment for epilepsy to participate in studies designed to determine if these types of electrode implants can also be used to monitor and stimulate the brain in different disease contexts.
Dr. Ojemann has used the signals recorded from brain implants to control a brain/machine interface, such as an external robotic arm or hand. Prosthetics that interact with the brain directly have the potential to greatly improve the lives of patients with paralysis resulting from spinal cord injuries, stroke, or neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, Dr. Ojemann’s research also has the potential to impact the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Deep Brain Stimulation of the thalamus is currently used as a treatment for the movement disorders of Parkinson’s. Brain signal recordings allow for targeted application and timing of this therapy. For example, allowing the application of the therapeutic stimulation only when the patient is using the affected limb can extend the life of batteries and reduce the number of surgeries required to replace them. The stimulation is triggered based on direct recording from the brain surface of the signals associated with the initiation of movement. Finally, stimulation of both the brain and spinal cord can be used to enhance signals between these two areas to assist in the recovery of motor function in a variety of neurological disorders.
Dr. Ojemann would be interested in collaborating with industry partners on projects that are related to expanding the use of brain implants for a wide range of neurological diseases, including stroke, spinal cord injury, neurodegenerative disorders, cerebral palsy, or spina bifida.
Stage of Development
- Device development and validation
- Collaborative research and development opportunity
- Sponsored research agreement
- Licensing agreement
- Tissue sample access
- Clinical trials
- Herron JA, Thompson MC, Brown T, Chizeck HJ, Ojemann JG, Ko AL. Cortical Brain-Computer Interface for Closed-Loop Deep Brain Stimulation. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2017; 25: 2180-2187.
- Collins KL, Guterstam A, Cronin J, Olson JD, Ehrsson HH, Ojemann JG. Ownership of an artificial limb induced by electrical brain stimulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017; 114: 166-171. Link:
- Herron JA, Thompson MC, Brown T, Chizeck HJ, Ojemann JG, Ko AL. Chronic electrocorticography for sensing movement intention and closed-loop deep brain stimulation with wearable sensors in an essential tremor patient. J Neurosurg. 2017; 127: 580-587. Link:
- Wander JD, Sarma D, Johnson LA, Fetz EE, Rao RP, Ojemann JG, Darvas F. Cortico-cortical interactions during acquisition and use of a neuroprosthetic skill. PLoS Comput Biol. 2016; 12: e1004931.
To learn more about partnering with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on this or other projects, please contact: