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Alim Louis Benabid



Alim Louis Benabid, MD, PhD, is a French emeritus professor, neurosurgeon and member of the French Academy of Sciences, who has had a global impact in the development of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. He became emeritus professor of biophysics at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble in September 2007, and chairman of the board of the Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center in 2009 at Clinatec, a multidisciplinary institute he co-founded in Grenoble that applies nanotechnologies to neurosciences.


Brain computer interface to improve mobility of tetraplegic patients: Last update on BCI
Alim Louis Benabid and the BCI team.
Clinatec, LETI, CEA Grenoble 

Clinatec has been created to gather in the same place at the same time the various partners of technological innovation in diagnosis and treatment for medicine.
One of the main flagships of this patient oriented medical device research is the conception, the design, and the realisation of the complex system (recorder, data analysis software, and exoskeleton effector), driven by direct recording at the surface of the patient's brain of his cortical electrical activity (ECoG) in order to animate by the will of the patient the various degrees of freedom provided by the exoskeleton neuro-prostheses.
This research is highly motivated by the frequent occurrence of this type of deficits, rendering severely handicapped usually young patients, the spinal cervical cord lesion, created usually after a traumatism disconnecting the brain, its motor efferent and sensory afferents.
After having performed preclinical proof of concepts experiments in rodents as well as in nonhuman primates, we have in parallel initiated the execution of the three main components of the system.
A fully implantable wireless chronic recorder WIMAGINE was designed and built, made of a titanium case (5 cm in diameter 7 mm thick) bearing on its internal face grid of 64 platinum-iridium contacts directly applied on the dura, the electronics inside the case comprises two ASICS to digitise the recorded data, and the radio module to emit the data to a computer centre situated in the backpack of the exoskeleton. The system is connected to 2 subcutaneous antennas to emit the data as well as to receive energy by external induction.
An adaptive decoder software has been designed by the Clinatec team of mathematicians and software engineers.
A four limb motorised exoskeleton EMY has been conceived and built in cooperation with CEA/LIST, embedding the patient and still hung to a supporting system, to ensure safety as the equilibrium is not yet achieved in this current version of the system.
The whole system has been validated by ethical committees and the National validation committee ANSM and the protocol has been granted for use on five patients.
We present here the results of one full year follow-up in patient BCI 02 who has been implanted bilaterally with two WIMAGINE recorders. Since then, the patient has been closely followed up by the Clinatec team including the medical teams as well as that the engineers, one of them being specifically devoted to the training of the patient, and the building of the various models needed to achieve the control of an increasing number of degrees of freedom (DoFs). Out of the nine DoFs available, all of them have been activated independently with their own specific model. The following step was to combine progressively these DoFs in one unique model allowing the patient to be able to activate each of them independently or altogether within the same session. To date, six DoFs can be controlled by the same model (the two upper limbs in XYZ directions) the three remaining DoFs are bilateral prosupination of the wrist (1 DoF each wrist) and walking (one DoF for a brain switch to start or stop the humanoid walking program piloting the lower limbs).
The success of this training has been more successful than expected and continues to increase the ability of the patient to regain higher degrees of mobility. In the meantime, this has led us to make very interesting and important observations, providing new insights in the understanding of the physiology of motricity at the level of the sensory motor cortex in front of which the recorders have been implanted.
This program has demonstrated the feasibility of this type of brain driven neuro-prostheses, and paves the way to improvements but also diversifications of the activities, such as piloting, in addition to the exoskeleton, the wheelchair of the patient, home automation environment, and possibly some professional heavy duty tools.
The integration of these technological progresses into the common acceptance of the public and of the national institutions should already be evaluated.

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MD, PhD, is a French emeritus professor, neurosurgeon and member of the French Academy of Sciences