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Surgery can assist if you hurt your elbow. Prosthetics are offered if you lose a limb. Problems in the brain, on the other hand, are more difficult to cure, and rehabilitation for stroke sufferers is primarily left to the body’s natural repair mechanisms. BrainQ wants to alter that with a device that stimulates the injured area of the brain and encourages self-repair. The gadget has shown enough promise in trials to earn the FDA’s Breakthrough Device designation, and the firm has now secured $40 million to bring it to market.
This sort of stimulation has been proven to increase neuroplasticity the ability of the central nervous system to remodel itself in various circumstances. BrainQ’s gadget increases neuroplasticity in stroke-affected regions by carefully. Although the left hand and left foot share a motor cortex area, the hand may function at 22 Hz while the foot operates at 24 Hz.
It’s an odd gadget they’ve designed to give the therapy. It features a somewhat big cylindrical headpiece because it’s a whole-brain magnetic field generator, but the rest of it fits into a back brace and hip pack. The fields and currents involved are exceedingly tiny, unlike the more popular magnetic brain imaging technology, MRI.
The outcomes of this stimulation were confirmed in a small but significant research (25 patients) that will be evaluated and published soon (preprint abstract here). Patients who received the BrainQ treatment in addition to standard therapy had significant increases in recovery assessments, such as balance and strength; 92 percent experienced significant gains over standard therapy, and 80 percent reached what might be considered recovery (though this term is inexact).
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In general, the therapy would take approximately an hour at a time, during which the patient would perform various physical activities while wearing the device, and it would be performed five times a week for around two months. The headgear sends the patient’s own patterns to BrainQ’s cloud-based service, which crunches and matches them to create a personalized treatment plan. Everything is controlled via a tablet app that may be handled by a caregiver (such as an outpatient nurse) or a built-in telemedicine platform.
The company’s next step is a larger-scale research, to which it plans to commit a significant amount of its recent $40 million fundraising, which was headed by Hanaco Ventures with participation from Dexcel Pharma and Peregrine Ventures. BrainQ recently achieved Breakthrough Device certification, an accelerated review procedure that has also qualified BrainQ for Medicare coverage since the beginning of this year. This means that, while it’s still a year or two away, BrainQ might be delivering gadgets very soon.