A robotic device that helps diagnose and treat Parkinson's disease

A robotic device that helps diagnose and treat Parkinson’s disease

Scientists in the UK have developed a robotic device to help diagnose and treat brain disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.

The device – a soft, flexible catheter and artificial intelligence (AI) robotic arm – can help neurosurgeons see deep brain structures and deliver treatments without harming complex and delicate brain tissue.

“The brain is a fragile, complex network of tightly stacked neurons that each play a role. When disease arises, we want to be able to navigate this sensitive environment to precisely target those areas without harming healthy cells,” said Ferdinando Rodriguez Y Baena, Professor of Robotics. in the Department of Medical Engineering, Imperial College London, in press release.

“Our new, precise, minimally invasive platform improves on currently available technology and could enhance our ability to safely and effectively diagnose and treat diseases in people if it proves to be safe and effective,” Rodriguez Y Baina added.

Suggestions for reading

Preliminary results of the study,”Bioinspired Microneedle Neurosurgery Modular Robotic Platform: System Overview and First in vivo Designation“in PLUS ONE.

Minimally invasive or keyhole surgery involves placing a camera and a catheter (thin tube) containing specialized tools through small holes in the body to perform the surgeries. While these surgeries are associated with less trauma, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery times, the catheters currently in use are rigid and difficult to place accurately without robotic mobility tools. Catheter stiffness also increases the risk of damage to brain tissue.

“One of the main limitations of the current MIS [minimally invasive surgery] Is that if you want to get to a deep rooted site through a hole in the skull, you’re restricted to a straight path. Lorenzo Bello, a professor of neurosurgery and co-author of the study, said the limitations of rigid catheters are their accuracy within altered brain tissue, and the tissue distortion it can cause.

The new device for Imperial College scientists consists of a soft catheter with four interlocking parts that slide over each other for flexible mobility, and an AI-powered robotic arm to help surgeons navigate catheters through the brain. Once at the disease site, surgeons deliver optical fibers through the catheter to allow them to see the tip and maneuver it along brain tissue using a joystick. The AI ​​platform learns from the surgeon’s input and communication forces within brain tissue to precisely guide the catheter.

Testing with sheep’s brains

The researchers tested the platform by inserting catheters into the brains of two live sheep at the University of Milan’s Veterinary Medicine Campus. Sheep were given a pain reliever and monitored daily for a week for signs of pain or distress. Next, the researchers euthanized them and examined their brain tissue to see if the catheters did damage. They found no signs of suffering, tissue damage, or infection.

“Our analysis showed that we implanted this new catheter safely, without harm, infection or suffering. If we achieve promising results on par with humans, we hope to be able to see this platform in the clinic within four years,” said Riccardo Scioli, PhD, lead author of the study. Years”.

“Our findings could have major implications for minimally invasive robotic brain surgery. We hope this will help improve the safety and efficacy of current neurosurgical procedures where careful dissemination of treatment and diagnostic regimens is required.”

The team plans to conduct future studies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of catheter placement and introduce additional sensor technologies, such as intraoperative ultrasound, to measure tissue damage during surgery.

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