Our aim is to investigate basic principles for designing and using electronic implantable devices able to interact autonomously with physiological functions in order to maintain/restore the healthy values of vital parameters. From this perspective, our focus areas include development of systems for monitoring such vital parameters and acting upon detection of malfunction by electrical stimulation or drug delivery therapies. Presently, we primarily investigate possibilities of using the vagus nerve as both source of information and therapeutic target for such systems.
Main Research Areas
- Monitoring the activity of the vagus nerve
Mathijs Kurstjens, Cristian Sevcencu
The objective is to establish methods for extracting from vagus nerve recordings information on vital parameters related to cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic functions. For this purpose, cuff electrodes are tested in exploratory studies on pigs.
- Prediction and prevention of epileptic seizures
Kristian R. Harreby, Thomas Nørgaard Nielsen, Ernest Kamavuako, Cristian Sevcencu
Within this area, we have established a seizure prediction method based on pre-ictal changes in the vagus nerve activity. The method has been developed in rats and is currently tested in pigs. Alternative algorithms for analyzing the vagus nerve activity in relation to seizure prediction are under investigation, too. A method for seizure prediction based on vagus nerve recordings may be especially suitable for triggering on-demand vagus nerve stimulation for epilepsy treatment. Alternatively, the method could be used to trigger delivery of fast acting antiepileptic drugs prior to onset of seizures.
- Electrode development
Thomas Nørgaard Nielsen, Cristian Sevcencu
The aim is to design intraneural electrodes with higher abilities of selective recording and stimulation. In addition, methods to improve biocompatibility properties of such electrodes are in focus. Based on previous studies on rabbits, work is in progress to design and test new electrode configurations primarily addressing the complex architecture and functions of the vagus nerves.
- Medical Informatics Group, Aalborg University (Associate Professor Johannes Struijk)
- Biomedical laboratory, Institute of Pathology, Aalborg Hospital
- Louvain University and Neurotech S.A., Belgium (Professor Jean Delbeke)
- University of Twente, The Netherlands (Professor Peter Veltink)