Spinal Cord Imaging
The SpinalCOM project aims to investigate a new approach for the chronic imaging of the spinal cord through multi-physics modelling and implementation of a multimodal telecommunicating biocompatible implant . This approach will determine the extent of the activity of the spinal cord, enabling the production of a functional map of the marrow and the development of complementary tools to the functional MRI.
The spinal cord is the input of sensory information and the output of the motor commands of the limbs and trunk. Its damage by trauma, diseases of an inflammatory nature or neurodegenerative can have major consequences that directly affect the life quality and life expectancy of patients.The monitoring of the blood supply of the spinal cord and the measurement of the oxygenation of haemoglobin are used to see these phenomena, to analyze their evolution, and to fight (for pharmacological injections, surgery or appropriate rehabilitation) more effectively against the degradation of the spinal cord. Monitoring of the nerve activity by electrodes implanted in the spinal cord also offers interesting prospects.However, actual monitoring techniques (MIR or scanner) involve a total immobilization of the subject and the administration of pharmacological agents (aesthetic, muscle blockers, etc.), that significantly impact the collected data. Moreover, the temporal resolution of the functional MRI (fMRI) is modest and the inhomogeneous magnetic properties of the spine affect the repeatability of the measurement. Finally, the mechanical movements of the spinal cord within the vertebra, related to the patient's breathing cycles, remain a source of noise and imprecision.In addition to the fMRI approach, it is particularly appropriate to propose a multimodal implantable system for the ambulatory collection of the both electrophysiological (spinal nerve activity) and metabolic (blood oxygenation) parameters. Such a development will strengthen the resources of the medical community, available for: 1. Accurate identification of injured centers and tracking changes to make more effective the regeneration process and/or the rehabilitation effort.2. Understanding the role of the spinal cord, functioning in interaction with the brain and its degree of independence in some motor "decisions" or sensory interpretation.
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