Personalized Closed-loop Neurostimulation for Functional and Cognitive benefits
Staniša Raspopović, Laboratory for Neuroengineering, Department of Health Science and Technology, Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zürich
Advances in peripheral nervous system (PNS) interfacing present a promising venue for rehabilitation of individuals with different neurological disabilities. Subjects with diabetes or lower-limb amputation frequently do not engage fully in everyday activities because they are afraid of falls. They also tend to have reduced mobility, which can induce a sedentary lifestyle that promotes disease development and hinders reinsertion into society, while the neuropathic pain is also common and poorly managed with current medications. Despite a wide range of possibilities for human-machine interfacing, among which I was participating in development of several, the nature of the optimal human-machine interaction remains poorly understood. Knowledge gained from in-silico modelling of targeted neural structures can inform an optimized design of such interfacing, therefore we develop the exact models of different nerves, enabling for personalized treatments. We have pioneered a human-machine systems that translates prosthetic sensors’ read-outs into “language” understandable by the nervous system, using a detailed computational model. A “sensing leg,” for lower- limb amputees, by connecting sensors from the prosthetic knee and under the foot to the residual PNS, transduces the readout of the sensors into stimulation parameters. Their effects at the brain level were evaluated, observing important benefits. These studies not only provided clear evidence of the benefit of neuromodulation for neurologically disabled subjects but also provided insights into fundamental mechanisms of supraspinal integration of the restored sensory modalities.
Staniša Raspopović has been since 2018 an Assistant Professor of Neuroengineering at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland. His research interest is focused on the development of innovative medical devices for treatment of neurologically disabled persons. In particular, he develops mechatronic systems directly interfacing the environment with the residual nervous system. Staniša achieved the groundbreaking translational research results in the field of sensory restoration in amputee patients. By means of neuroprosthetic intervention, his group has shown that restoration of foot and knee sensations via neural implants, in above-knee amputees, diminished their pain, metabolic cost and mental fatigue, while enhancing functionality, confidence and acceptance of the prosthesis. These man-machine efforts are now expanded to pain, diabetics and stroke patients’ treatment. He won several grants from EU and Switzerland in the role of a project leader and is presently the PI of the prestigious ERC starting grant FeelAgain.