The possibility of minimizing the physical size of electrical stimulation systems and improving therapies that restore physiological functions to improve patient quality of life motivates this research on applying the theory of electromagnetics to developing improved electrical stimulation systems.
Implanted medical electronics that deliver low-amplitude electrical currents to physiological targets with high spatial specificity support therapies based on electrical stimulation of the peripheral nervous system for people suffering from epilepsy, bradycardia, depression, and Parkinson?s disease ? diseases that often respond poorly to more traditional treatments. Unfortunately, the size of implanted medical electronics and the need for recurring surgeries to replace energy-drained implanted batteries have persisted through technological advancements as the primary deterrents to people considering electrical stimulation therapy. The purpose of this research is to address the concerns of patients considering electrical stimulation therapy by the development of a stimulation system that offers all of the capabilities of contemporary stimulation systems with an implant device that has minimum physical volume and no implanted batteries.
The essential theory of operation of the system involves the use of an external generator device worn outside the body to power and control the electrical output of an entirely passive implant device. Compared to contemporary implanted medical electronics, the system will provide identical treatment capabilities with the advantages of significantly reduced implant volume and complexity and the ability to offer a decreased number of guaranteed surgeries. The implications of the success of this research include implants for electrical stimulation therapies such as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) with reduced volume and complexity in comparison to contemporary systems, therapies requiring just one surgery, and robust forward-compatibility with evolving treatment methods.
Meet the Project Researcher: ?The ability to use medical electronics to restore impaired physiology and improve a person?s quality of life is a gift of modern science worth investigating and developing. The utility of electromagnetic phenomena to human life has been demonstrated in innumerable applications and I am excited about the opportunity to improve modern implanted medical electronics using electromagnetic theory.? ? Jack Williams, Electrical Engineering Doctoral Student