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This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to replace needing to read scientific papers on new research in an easy to digest way. Then people can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space

Feb 25, 2019

Jennifer French of Neurotech Reports received a spinal cord injury in 1998 and became the first woman to receive the Stand and Transfer neural implant system. A silver medalist in sailing at the 2012 Paralympic Games, she sits down to discuss her experiences with her implantable device and how it has affected her life. During this discussion, she mentions her struggles and successes with her device along with her concerns and hopes for the technology.

 

If you like this episode then come to the Bioelectronic Medicine Forum in New York on April 4th. To register, follow the hyperlink or call (415) 546-1259. If you mention the Neural Implant Podcast Channel, you will receive a free ebook written by Jennifer French and published by Neurotech Press.

 

Top Three Takeaways:

  1. Body sensors in neural implants have unknown lifespans; their potential failure induces a sense of stress.
  2. The implantation of electrodes involves invasive surgery and long recovery time; the development of more reliable electrodes and less invasive procedures is necessary.
  3. There is a large risk concerning cybersecurity and tapping into wireless devices, such as pacemakers.

Show Notes:

[0:00] Ladan introduces Jennifer French from Neurotech Report; he also invites listeners to the 2019 Bioelectronic Medicine Forum in New York. To register, follow the hyperlink or call (415) 546-1259. If you mention the Neural Implant Podcast Channel, you will receive a free ebook written by Jennifer French and published by Neurotech Press.

[3:00] It is mentioned how sensor failure associated with closed-loop diabetes treatment induces stress.

[4:20] Different kinds of sensors in the body have unknown lifespans; they may or may not last very long.

[5:40] The developers for the original pacemaker created in the 1960s and 1970s by Medtronic relied on guessed parameters.

[8:00] Describing muscle stimulation, it is noted that muscles do not act in isolation; once one muscle is stimulated, another will act differently.

[9:25] Machinomite IST uses two channels to allow someone to stand and adds ankle movement as well.

[11:10] Network Neural Prosthesis (NNP) looks to build a network into the body in order to create modules and provide other functions.

[12:30] Jen French describes the controls of her neural prosthetic implant.

[14:55] The controls use buttons to activate muscles; there is usually a three-second delay for ramp-up.

[17:10] French describes the first implant she had in 1999 that included eight electrode channels.

[18:40] Many factors can lead to the failure of electrodes.

[20:10] French has gone through four major surgeries for her electrodes.

[22:10] When one gets electrodes put in, two major aspects are needed: the electrodes must be effective and they cannot shift.

[23:40] Doing research on higher mammals and moving towards minimally invasive procedures will improve the field of electrodes.

[25:10] Cuff electrodes use less power and allow for more flexibility.

[27:10] Black boxes for the electrodes often overheat.

[29:40] There is a large risk concerning cybersecurity and tapping into wireless devices, such as pacemakers.

[32:40] Society is getting to the point where it will soon be able to monitor implantable devices on mobile phones.

[37:10] French does not know her expectations concerning her implants because she is still participating in a clinical trial.

[40:10] Coming up with systemic ways of funding is necessary to ensure no patients are forgotten in clinical trials.

[42:10] Patients in failed clinical trials should be granted new opportunities.

[43:00] French constantly must stimulate her muscles via several techniques to prevent atrophy.

[45:10] French explains how the stimulation has affected her autonomic system.

[48:10] Autonomic systems are very much affected by spinal cord injuries.

[50:40] Aiming for easier targets in neural implant function may allow for more easily acquired secondary functions.