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Smart chip by Indian-origin scientist capable of counteracting Parkinson’s

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Singapore: A smart chip capable of pairing itself with neural implants and enabling wireless transmission of brain signals is developed by an Indian-origin scientist. The smart chip will be able to decrease the harmful symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, giving paraplegic people the ability to move prosthetic limbs.

According to assistant professor Arindam Basu from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), the research team has tested the chip on data recorded from animal models which showed that it could decode the brain’s signal to the hand and fingers with 95 percent accuracy.

“What we have developed is a very versatile smart chip that can process data, analyse patterns and spot the difference,” professor Basu said.

Currently, neural implants when embedded in the brain need to be connected by wires to an external device outside the body.

For a prosthetic patient, the neural implant is connected to a computer that decodes the brain signals so the artificial limb can move.

These external wires are not only cumbersome but the permanent openings, which allow the wires into the brain, increase the risk of infections.

The new chip can allow the transmission of brain data wirelessly and with high accuracy.

“The chip is about a hundred times more efficient than current processing chips on the market. It will lead to more compact medical wearable devices, such as portable ECG monitoring devices and neural implants since we no longer need large batteries to power them,” Basu explained.

Designed to be extremely power-efficient, the patented smart chip will analyse and decode the thousands of signals from the neural implants in the brain before compressing the results and sending it wirelessly to a small external receiver.

This new chip is designed to analyse data patterns and spot any abnormal or unusual patterns.

This would be extremely beneficial for the Internet of Things (IOT), where every electrical and electronic device is connected to the internet through a smart chip.

The team is also looking to expand the applications of the chip into commercial products, such as to customise it for smart home sensor networks, in collaboration with a local electronics company.

This invention and its findings were published last month in the prestigious journal, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits & Systems.(IANS)

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Thinning of Retina Maybe Linked to Parkinson’s: Researchers

The thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine and the severity of the disease.

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Parkinson's Disease
GREAT MANCHESTER RUN 2010 Parkinson's UK Runners 16 May 2010 Manchester

The thinning of retina — the lining of nerve cells in the back of the eye — could be linked to Parkinson’s disease, a finding that can boost diagnoses to detect the disease in its earliest stages, researchers have found.

According to the study, the thinning of the retina is linked to the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a substance that helps control movement — a hallmark of the Parkinson’s disease that impairs motor ability.

“Our study is the first to show a link between the thinning of the retina and a known sign of the progression of the disease — the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine,” said Jee-Young Lee, from the Seoul National University in South Korea.

Parkinson's Disease
Representational Image. Flickr

“We also found the thinner the retina, the greater the severity of disease. These discoveries may mean that neurologists may eventually be able to use a simple eye scan to detect Parkinson’s disease in its earliest stages, before problems with movement begin,” Lee added.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 49 people with an average age of 69 years who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years earlier but who had not yet started medication. They were compared to 54 people without the disease who were matched for age.

The team evaluated each participant with a complete eye exam, high-resolution eye scans as well as PET scan and found retina thinning, most notably in the two inner layers of the five layers of the retina, in those with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease Gets Awareness From Various Events. Flickr

In addition, the thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine and the severity of the disease.

Also Read: Headache Due to Spending Long Hours in Front of Computer? Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes!

If confirmed in larger studies, “retina scans may not only allow earlier treatment of Parkinson’s disease but more precise monitoring of treatments that could slow progression of the disease as well”, Lee said. (IANS)