Neuro Advancement through Video Games at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Neuro breakthroughs through video games are on the horizon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. For more information about neuroscience at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, visit http://www.barnesjewish.org/neurosciences.
Can playing a video game using only your brain waves lead to a cure for paralysis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease? Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital think it will.
Dr. Eric Leuthardt directs the new Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University School of Medicine. He and fellow researchers learned how to decode brain waves so that patients could play a video game just by thinking about it. This research can be used in treating a damaged or diseased nervous system.
The breakthrough is a step toward building biomedical devices that can control artificial limbs, one day enabling the disabled to move artificial limbs just by thinking about it. This would likely require brain surgery and the placement of electrodes over the surface of the brain and connecting that to a transmitter system that would communicate wirelessly with a computer. The computer would then implement whatever intentions they had. For example, if they wanted to move a cursor on a screen with just their mind, they could do so.
Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital currently have technology such as the intraoperative MRI (IMRI) that allows doctors to see inside the brain during surgery to guide them and give them insight in the operating room. The hope is that the new Center for Innovation will help them come up with creative, novel, and life changing solutions for patients with neurological or spinal problems.