Demyelination is a disease status of the nervous system in which the myelin sheath of neurons is damaged. Stimulation has been proven to result in “Activity-Based Recovery”; a method of myelin regeneration by electrical, magnetic, and optogenetic means. Using an in-vitro model paired with a microfluidic device, different methods of stimulation were tested to show neural regeneration.
In Vitro Model of Electrical Stimulation for Myelination:
Electrical stimulation at the stoma, axons, or both will all result in myelin regeneration. However, axon stimulation seems to be the most effective.
Optogenetic stimulation uses light to stimulate neurons. Similar to electrical stimulation, this method is used to stimulate oligodendrocytes, thus regenerating the myelin sheath. This method is used as a less invasive technique for neural regeneration.
Magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive stimulation method for myelin regeneration. Also known as TMS, magnetic stimulation has been shown to stimulate neurons, and is currently being used as a therapy method for mental health disorders.
Most TMS devices are very large and require incredible power in order to function, the purpose of this research is to create a handheld device that can be used as a magnetic stimulator, using a biometric low-intensity magnetic field for tissue activation.
The next phase of this project is to create a flexible device that could be directly implanted (in vivo) onto a nerve to have more accuracy and better results for neural stimulation.