A new electronic device could treat brain damage by stimulating nerves on the tongue to send signals to the brain. The Portable NeuroModulation Stimulator, or PoNS, is named after part of the brain stem and aims to repair damaged neural connections.
Developed by NeuroHabilitation with funding from the U.S. Army, the battery-powered device is targeted at a specific type of damage called traumatic brain injury, which can cause long-term impairments to memory, coordination, and balance. More than 250,000 soldiers suffered traumatic brain injury between 2000 and 2012, according to the Pentagon.
Here's how PoNS works: The user bites down on the device while performing a 20- or 30-minute series of physical and cognitive exercises tailored to the patient's particular deficits. PoNS then stimulates nerve endings on the tongue in way that mirrors the exercises, hopefully allowing the brain to repair damaged neural connections. Doctors observed persistent patient improvement after a week of daily sessions with PoNS.
At a time when soldiers are likelier than ever to survive a battlefield injury, this tongue-to-brain device offers a glimpse at the kind of medical care veterans will need for decades to come.
I am very interested to find out if this device could be used on the traumatic brain injury that a person with FASD (brain injury from in utero exposure to alcohol) suffers. The symptoms are much the same as a Military style TBI and plague a person with FASD throughout their lives. Where can more information about this device be found? Is it just being used ONLY on military candidates right now? There are over 40,000 babies born every year with FASD---there are millions of people suffering with these brain injuries. There is a huge segment of the population that could use PoNS if it were available. see more on FASD brain injuries here: http://bit.ly/XV1TNF
Wow! Have anyone tried this technology with neurodegenerative diseases like - Huntington's Disease or Parkinson's? I know some anxious patients waiting for better treatments..
I think it would be a good idea to develop a study group for the public sector as well. There are so many different types of brain injuries...traumatic & genetic. My husband, a victim of a hit-n-run motorcycle accident, was left with a severe left-sided brain injury. We struggle constantly with proper therapy standards for his situation. This device could be a 'quality of life' enhancer/saver...especially with speech re-training. Where can I find out more info on its availability? Thanks!
Maybe you should try contacting Michael J Fox's Parkinson's website. See if he has any information/knowledge about this device. If anyone can, HE could get it into the public sector. I agree, that it could be a wonderful thing. I love seeing articles like this, but flip side is, sometimes it's just a 'teaser'. You hear about it once and then idea disappears, HOPE rises & falls. Sadly, our government is good about doing this.