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Virtual Dictionary

Deep Brain Stimulator

A Deep Brain Stimulator or DBS is a type of neuroprosthetic implant. As the name suggests, it is buried deep inside the brain, with its electrodes exposed against the neurons of a specific brain region, usually in the mid brain, below the cerebral cortex.

As such inserting DBS devices is a very delicate procedure. A great deal of comprehensive neuroimaging is conducted prior to placement, and usually involves taking the imaging data and transferring it into a medical virtual reality environment such that the surgeon can see the brain structures of that individual in 3D, and determine the best path through the brain to take. Every incision is going to result in scar tissue build-up and a corresponding loss of function in the areas directly adjacent to the cut.

The DBS device itself is primarily a neurostimulator. It is paired with an external neuroimaging device that monitors the brain activity in the area the DBS implant was placed into. If the activity in that area spikes abnormally, the external device triggers the DBS to fire, and the DBS sends out an electrical signal overriding the signals of all neurons in the immediate area. It effectively temporarily halts all activity in that region.

DBS devices are thus considered brain pacemakers. They don't read brain activity as such, but rely on an external device to do that. Their job is to quell activity dangerous to the individual. The classic use of course being a last-ditch method for dealing with crippling epileptic seizures. The DBS device triggers when the external imaging device detects a build-up towards a seizure, and the DBS device wipes that out, preventing the seizure from occurring in the first place.

DBS devices are increasingly being used in a variety of other medical treatments other than epilepsy, when a precursor signal has been identified. Reset the precursor, and the attack never occurs. It doesn't fix the problem, but it does manage it.

For obvious reasons, a DBS's power supply is not deep in the brain with it, but connected via wiring in the insertion channel, to the outside of the brain or even the outside of the scalp. The last thing the patient needs is for the surgeon to have to fish the device out to change the battery.

Deep Brain Stimulators are not interface devices. They lack the finesse to interface with neurons individually, and will instead blast thousands or even tens of thousands of neurons at once. However, they are neurostimulator devices, and their continued development produces a great deal of research that is very valuable indeed in our quest to create stimulators that have a much higher degree of finesse. It is these devices after all, that will eventually make the concept of 'learning via direct download' a reality.

See Also: Neural Imaging, Brain Computer Interface, Brain Machine Interface, Neuroprosthetic, Neurofeedback, Neural Oscillation, Brainwave Baseline, Neuroenhancement

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Resources in our database matching the Term Deep Brain Stimulator:

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Neuroprosthetics Powered by the Brain
Powering a neuroprosthetic is a tricky issue. As most of these devices are implanted either on the surface of the brain, or deep inside its folds, it is not a trivial matter to pop it out and change the battery. But, what if the same sugar that feeds the brain, could also feed the prosthetic?

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Book Quotes: Sensory Blindness
A look at one of Arthur C Clarke's quotes on training the brain to understand a new sense, and comparing that to actual experimentation with deep brain prosthetics.

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Nanotech coating could lead to better brain implants
Following an interesting attempt at using nanotech material to 'hide' a deep brain electrode array from the auto-immune system, and allow it to interface for far, far longer.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Matriculated: Cyborg Sensory Controls
Here we see a control room deep in a bunker complex. On one of the screens in front of the operator, a live video feed has just opened. What is perhaps unusual about the feed, is it is coming directly from someone's brain. A small monkey in a bio-jar, next to the woman it thinks of as its friend, family, loved one, has just noticed two decidedly unfriendly shapes surfacing out in the ocean, presumably having walked along the sea floor. Its eyes have focussed on them, and its brain processed the images.

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Inside the injured brain, many kinds of awareness
Industry News

Industry news, originally posted 11-04-2005. Neuroscientists now understand at least some of the physiology behind a wide range of unconscious states, from deep sleep to coma.

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Brain Search
The brain is of profound importance. It is the place that houses our sense of self, our mind. It contains all of who and what we are. As technologies advance, Brain-Machine interfaces will become more and more sophisticated, and our understanding of the brain's functions will become ever-greater. This resource is a search engine specifically geared to finding all resources on the site that deal with developments / prosthetics for different brain regions.

The first book of the series is a 240 page graphic novel, and is the material the Surrogates film was based on, although the filrm takes the material and runs into loonyville with it. This on the other hand is hard core science fiction, slowly becoming science fact. It is filled with deep exposition scenes, carefully thought out quirks, and fodder for the brain, based on current trends.


Industry News containing the Term Deep Brain Stimulator:

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St. Jude Medical has announced that all the 136 patients in a study testing the effectiveness of Libra DBS for symptoms of Parkinson's have been implanted with the device. The deep brain stimulation system targets either the subthalamic nu...

Deep brain stimulation, which uses electrical stimulation to jolt the brain in pinpointed locations, is use for treating a number of neurological and behavioral conditions, including Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, severe depression, chroni...

Tongue controllers are back in the news again, after research presented at the Society of Neurosciences conference in Washington, DC last week demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the tongue could serve as a secondary feedback to vis...

European regulators have given a green light to St. Jude Medical to market the company's Libra? and LibraXP deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems for treatment of symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The Libra DBS systems func...

An experimental chip that could one day provide therapeutic deep brain stimulation (DBS) for drug resistant epilepsy and other conditions has been developed by Tel Aviv University researchers.

The Rehabilitation Nano Chip (Re...