Wadsworth scientists and engineers are building a unique technological infrastructure that supports real time interactions with the central nervous system (CNS). They are using it to produce important new scientific insights and novel clinical methods, and they are beginning to disseminate these achievements to others. The proposed Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies will continue and expand this effort, strengthen its focus on clinical translation, and accelerate dissemination of the new technologies. It has five specific aims.
Aim 1 will develop and validate new operant conditioning protocols that can modify specific spinal and corticospinal CNS pathways to induce and guide beneficial (i.e., rehabilitative) plasticity in the CNS. These protocols will also be incorporated into a compact and robust unit to enable widespread use of this new therapeutic method in people with motor disabilities.
Aim 2 will develop and validate electroencephalography(EEG)-based brain-computer interface (BCI) systems that can improve important CNS functions, such as motor control in people with severe neuromuscular disabilities (e.g., stroke) and emotion regulation in people with addiction disorders (thereby reducing craving and substance abuse).
Aim 3 will develop and validate methods that use electrocorticographic (ECoG) signals from the cortical surface to localize and characterize brain processes with temporal and spatial resolution beyond that now possible. This work will develop novel algorithms for modeling, co-registration, representation, and reduction of ECoG signals;and will incorporate them into real-time software for detecting, mapping, and interacting with the brain processes underlying specific functions and dysfunctions.
Aim 4 will create a novel interdisciplinary training curriculum that provides a theoretical foundation in adaptive neurotechnologies and practical experience in applying them to important scientific and clinical applications. This curriculum will be incorporated into trainig courses and workshops.
Aim 5 will develop and support dissemination channels for adaptive neurotechnologies, including: the highly interactive Center website;review articles in scientific, engineering, and clinical journals;and presentations and workshops at scientific and clinical meetings.
Recent advances enable the development of neurotechnologies that interact with the nervous system to improve recovery from trauma or disease. This Center will produce and validate important new neurotechnologies;and it will provide training and dissemination that enable scientists, engineers, and clinicians to join in developing and using them. Thus, it will increase understanding of CNS function and dysfunction;and it will realize effective new therapies for a wide range of devastating neurological disorders.