New breathing controller helps patients "move"

Release date: 2010-07-29


According to the British "Daily Mail" reported on the 27th, the neuroscientist Nom Sobel of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel developed a new "breathing controller" that can sense the wearer's nasal cavity. The pressure changes and turns it into an electrical signal. By connecting this device to specific software, you can move the cursor on the computer screen by breathing, thus enabling the patient to control the wheelchair, text writing, surfing the Internet and computer games, especially for people with latch-up syndrome.
The new controller is similar to a nasal tube that delivers oxygen, one connected to the patient's nasal cavity and the other to a small pressure sensor. Sobel said that the controller is mainly based on the breathing action of the nose, and the breathing is basically controlled directly by the cranial nerve connected to the soft palate. Usually, after a serious injury, some of the cranial nerve function and soft palate can still be well preserved, so it can interact with the outside through the breathing in the nasal cavity.
Compared with the communication methods such as blinking, which is commonly used in patients with generalized paralysis, the use of breathing to control machinery or communicate with the outside world is easier and easier to learn. It is also a boon for many patients with atresia syndrome. Usually, patients with this condition can't speak, swallow, and move, but they are conscious and can establish contact with the outside world by closing their eyes or up and down the eyeball.
Currently, scientists have tested the device in three patients with autism syndrome. A female patient had been unable to act and speak for seven months, but she had deep communication with her children through this technique. After 19 days of breathing control exercises for up to 20 minutes a day, she was able to write a message to her family, which is the only way she can express her thoughts.
Another man who suffered from a latching syndrome for 18 years in a car accident had to communicate with the outside world by blinking, but within 20 minutes of touching the device, he wrote his name by controlling the breath. After 3 weeks, it was able to write the next letter in 36 seconds to 50 seconds.
The researchers also tested a 6-year-old man who achieved control of the electric wheelchair after only 15 minutes of practice. And more than a dozen other testers can use this device to browse the Internet, even in computer games, showing speed and accuracy similar to using a mouse or joystick.
However, some experts expressed their doubts. Niels Bobmo of the University of Tübingen, Germany, worried that patients with severe atresia syndrome may not be able to use this "breathing controller" because these patients are Muscle tissue does not have sufficient control. Sobel responded by saying that the equipment is still in the research stage and needs a series of experiments to verify the operation of the new equipment. At the same time, the cost of this device is very low, and it is expected to play an auxiliary role in surgery and flight driving.

Source: Technology Daily

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