2 Editorial Comment EDITORIAL COMMENT Welcome
Welcome to this, the fi rst Verba Mentis. This newsletter is your guide to what is new and exciting in the fi elds of Neurology, Neuropsychiatry and Psychiatry. We do not claim to cover every topic in such a broad area of science in each issue. However, we will identify signifi cant developments – with source referencing provided to allow you to research the area further.
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News & Analysis
Reviewing the challenges for implantable brain computer interface
Neurobiol Dis. 2009 Dec 22; Authors: Konrad P, Shanks T
THE PAST FEW YEARS have provided extraordi- nary human examples of BCI implant potential. Despite technological hurdles, proof-of-concept animal and human studies provide signifi cant encouragement that BCI implants may well fi nd their way into mainstream medical prac- tice in the foreseeable future. In this article Konrad and Shanks review three concepts re- lated to implantable brain computer interface (BCI) devices being designed for human use: neural signal extraction primarily for motor commands, signal insertion to restore sensation and technological challenges that remain. A sig- nifi cant body of literature has developed over
The emergence of Neuroethics
Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006 Nov;19(6):600-7 Authors: Fuchs T
ETHICAL PROBLEMS resulting from brain research have led to the emergence of a new discipline termed neuroethics. Critical questions concern issues, such as prediction of disease, psychopharmacological enhancement of attention, memory or mood, and technologies such as psychosurgery, deep-brain stimulation or brain implants. Such techniques are capable of affecting the individual’s sense of privacy, autonomy and identity. Moreover, reductionist interpretations of neuroscientifi c results challenge notions of free will, responsibility, personhood and the self which are essential for western culture and society. They may also gradually change psychiatric concepts of mental health and illness. These tendencies call for thorough, philosophically informed analyses of research fi ndings and critical evaluation of their underlying conceptions of humans.
…reductionist interpretations of neuroscientifi c results challenge notions of free will, responsibility, personhood and the self…
Advances in neuroscience raise
ethical, social and legal issues in relation to the human person and the brain. Potential benefi ts have to be carefully weighed against their potential harm. Questions concern- ing underlying concepts of humans should be actively dealt with by interdisciplinary and public debate.
Ethical issues in neuroscience. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006 Nov;19(6):600-7, Authors: Fuchs T • PMID: 17012939 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
the past four decades regarding motor cortex signal extraction for upper extremity move- ment or computer interface. However, little is discussed regarding postural or ambulation command signaling. Auditory prosthesis re- search continues to represent the majority of literature on BCI signal insertion. Signifi cant hurdles continue in the technological transla- tion of BCI implants. These include developing a stable neural interface, signifi cantly increas- ing signal processing capabilities, and methods of data transfer throughout the human body.
Implantable Brain Computer Interface: Challenges to Neurotechnology Translation. Neurobiol Dis. 2009 Dec 22; Authors: Konrad P, Shanks T PMID: 20035870 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Neural networks surgery – where biomedicine and technology converge
Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2007;97(Pt 2):3-13 Authors: Sakas DE, Panourias IG, Simpson BA
OPERATIVE NEUROMODULATION is the fi eld of altering electrically or chemically the signal transmission in the nervous system by implanted devices in order to excite, inhibit or tune the activities of neurons or neural networks and produce therapeutic effects. Sakas Panourias and Simpson review relevant literature on procedures or devices applied either in contact with the cerebral cortex or cranial nerves or in deep sites inside the brain in order to treat various refractory neurological conditions such as: a) chronic pain (facial, somatic, deafferentation, phantom limb), b) movement disorders (Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette syndrome), c) epilepsy, d) psychiatric disease, e) hearing defi cits, and f) visual loss. The data indicates that in operative neuromodulation, a new fi eld emerges that is based on neural networks research and on advances in digitised stereometric brain imaging which allows precise localisation of cerebral neural networks and their relay stations; this fi eld can be described as Neural networks surgery because it aims to act extrinsically or intrinsically on neural networks and to alter therapeutically the neural signal transmission with the use of implantable electrical or electronic devices. The authors also review neurotechnology literature
relevant to neuroengineering, nanotechnologies, brain computer interfaces, hybrid cultured probes, neuromimetics, neuroinformatics, neurocomputation, and computational neuromodulation; the latter fi eld is dedicated to the study of the biophysical and mathematical characteristics of electrochemical neuromodulation. The article also brings forward particularly interesting lines of research such as the carbon nanofi bers electrode arrays for simultaneous electrochemical recording and stimulation, closed-loop systems for responsive neuromodulation, and the intracortical electrodes for restoring hearing or vision. The present review of cerebral neuromodulatory procedures highlights the transition from the conventional neurosurgery of resective or ablative techniques to a highly selective “surgery of networks”. The dynamics of the convergence of the above biomedical and technological fi elds with biological restorative approaches have important implications for patients with severe neurological disorders.
An introduction to neural networks surgery, a fi eld of neuromodulation which is based on advances in neural networks science and digitised brain imaging. Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2007;97(Pt 2):3-13, Authors: Sakas DE, Panourias IG, Simpson BA • PMID: 17691284 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Verba Mentis | Issue 1 | 2010 | www.verbamentis.com
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