Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Journey of Discovery Starts toward Understanding and Treating Networks of the Brain
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) May 28, 2014


DARPA's SUBNETS program seeks new neurotechnology for analyzing neuronal activity across sub-networks of the brain to enable next-generation therapies tailored to individual patients. Image courtesy DARPA.

Work on DARPA's Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program is set to begin with teams led by UC San Francisco (UCSF), and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The SUBNETS program seeks to reduce the severity of neuropsychological illness in service members and veterans by developing closed-loop therapies that incorporate recording and analysis of brain activity with near-real-time neural stimulation.

The program, which will use next-generation devices inspired by current Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) technology, was launched in support of President Obama's brain initiative.

UCSF and MGH will oversee teams of physicians, engineers, and neuroscientists who are working together to develop advanced brain interfaces, computational models of neural activity, and clinical therapies for treating networks of the brain.

The teams will collaborate with commercial industry and government, including researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Medtronic, to apply a broad range of perspectives to the technological challenges involved.

SUBNETS is premised on the understanding that brain function-and dysfunction, in the case of neuropsychological illness-plays out across distributed neural systems, as opposed to being strictly relegated to distinct anatomical regions of the brain. The program also aims to take advantage of neural plasticity, a feature of the brain by which the organ's anatomy and physiology can alter over time to support normal brain function.

Plasticity runs counter to previously held ideas that the adult brain is a "finished" entity that can be statically mapped. Because of plasticity, researchers are optimistic that the brain can be trained or treated to restore normal functionality following injury or the onset of neuropsychological illness.

"The brain is very different from all other organs because of its networking and adaptability," said Justin Sanchez, the DARPA program manager for SUBNETS.

"Real-time, closed-loop neural interfaces allow us to move beyond the traditional static view of the brain and into a realm of precision therapy. This lack of understanding of how mental illness specifically manifests in the brain has limited the effectiveness of existing treatment options, but through SUBNETS we hope to change that.

DARPA is looking for ways to characterize which regions come into play for different conditions-measured from brain networks down to the single neuron level-and develop therapeutic devices that can record activity, deliver targeted stimulation, and most importantly, automatically adjust therapy as the brain itself changes.

The research teams we selected for SUBNETS will pursue bold approaches to reach those goals and we're excited to get started because this research could prove to be transformative for people with mental illness."

The UCSF team's approach is to develop a device that focuses on regions of the brain involved in an individual's psychiatric or neurologic disease. The device will use direct recording, stimulation, and therapeutic approaches to encourage neural plasticity, with the aim of rehabilitating the circuits that appear to be driving pathology and free an individual from psychiatric or neurologic symptoms. If successful, the approach would allow for the eventual removal of the device.

The MGH team will pursue a "trans-diagnostic" approach to assessing common components of psychiatric and neurologic diseases-traits common to many such syndromes, including increased anxiety, impaired recall, or inappropriate reactions to stimuli-through qualitative and quantitative behavioral testing combined with high-fidelity, real-time single-neuron recordings.

If successful, this method will allow investigators to follow the traces of pathology from individually firing neurons, up through imaging studies of neural network behavior, and into tests that can be performed in the clinical setting. It could also lead to more targeted treatments for psychiatric disease and advance clinicians' ability to make accurate diagnoses.

The MGH team will also work with Draper Laboratories to deploy state-of-the-art advances in micro-fabrication of electronics, with the goal of generating a sophisticated, implantable device that will remain safe and effective through the lifetime of the recipient.

The SUBNETS program plan calls for research to be conducted over the next five years along a schedule of prescribed milestones, culminating in technology demonstrations and submission of devices for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"DARPA is in the business of creating not just science, but new technologies," Sanchez said. "The neurotechnologies we will work to develop under SUBNETS could give new tools to the medical community to treat patients who don't respond to other therapies, and new knowledge to the neuroscience community to expand the understanding of brain function. We believe this will be a foundational program."

.


Related Links
Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS)
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Virtual dam on after-hours emails tackles burnout
Frankfurt (AFP) May 27, 2014
As smartphones and portable devices increasingly dominate our working lives, moves are afoot in France and Germany to prevent the little electronic miracle workers from encroaching on people's private lives as well. For several years now, some of Germany's biggest companies have started waking up to the counterproductive effects of expecting executives to be reachable around the clock. " ... read more


ABOUT US
US finds missing British yacht in Atlantic, but no crew

'Canners' live off detritus of New York

Malaysia to discuss with Inmarsat on release of "raw data"

China says Vietnam riot killed four people

ABOUT US
Australia's Orica plans to ship toxic waste to France

Is there really cash in your company's trash?

Professors' super waterproof surfaces cause water to bounce like a ball

Google making 3D tablet: report

ABOUT US
Satellite imagery shows drought-ridden Lake Powell at half capacity

Australian environmentalists welcome bank wariness on reef port

Bottom trawling causes deep-sea biological desertification

Better science for better fisheries management

ABOUT US
WTO rejects Canada, Norway appeal against EU seal import ban

Nepal glaciers shrink by quarter in 30 years: scientist

Hidden Greenland Canyons Mean More Sea Level Rise

Antarctica's ice losses on the rise

ABOUT US
European farmers adapting to climate change

Wondering about the state of the environment? Just eavesdrop on the bees

Asia's largest wine expo opens in Hong Kong

US Farmers Can Turn their Ag Waste Problems into Profit

ABOUT US
Amanda becomes category four hurricane in Pacific

Hundreds wounded as strong quake sparks panic in Turkey

Amanda strengthens to become season's first hurricane

Massive clean-up in Balkans after flood of the century

ABOUT US
Kenya's buses to go cashless to beat bribes

Northern Mali rebels agree to ceasefire: diplomat

UN Council seeks tighter Somali control of weapons

US troops deploy to Chad in hunt for Nigerian girls

ABOUT US
Virtual dam on after-hours emails tackles burnout

Preschool teacher depression linked to behavioral problems in children

US military opens door to gender treatment for Manning

Longevity gene may boost brain power




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.