Wearable for the Tongue Tackles Traumatic Brain Injury

January 23, 2015

Jan 23, 2015

Here’s a wearable unlike any you have ever heard of before: a device that connects to the tongue to stimulate the cranial nerves to help treat traumatic brain injury. The device, which is in development by Helius Medical Technologies (Vancouver) and Ximedica(Providence, RI), was inspired by the work of Paul Bach-y-Rita, an American neuroscientists who was a pioneer in the field of brain plasticity.

In 1958, Bach-y-Rita’s father had suffered a debilitating stroke. Convinced that, through exercise, the brain could recover from mental deficits, the neuroscientist set up testing his theories to help his father. “So he nursed his father back to health by having him do excruciating exercise for a long period of time,” says PhilDuchamp, CEO of Helius Medical Technologies (Vancouver). Over time, the exercises succeeded in helping his father recover most of his function.

The technology from Helius works according to the same principle: exercise, or in this case exercise conjoined with neural stimulation, can work as a catalyst to cause the brain to reorganize itself to overcome deficits caused by disease or trauma.