BrainSonix Revolutionary Technology Breathes New Life Into the Medical Industry

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Breakthrough new medical device brings patient out of a coma for the first time.

When 25-year-old recent college grad, Bradley Crehan was involved in a traffic accident last February, he suffered a severe brain injury when his head hit the pavement.

Despite attempts by UCLA Medical Center doctors to relieve pressure to his brain, he remained in a coma.

That’s when doctors decided to try a different approach. Using a breakthrough new device invented by Woody Wurster and manufactured at Custom Stamping Inc., combined with an innovative new method of sonic stimulation, created by Dr. Alexander Bystritsky, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UCLA, doctors were able to jump-start the patient’s brain using ultrasound waves, reanimating the patient just 4 weeks after he initially fell into a coma.

According to BrainSonix, its patented BXPulsar 1001 LIFUP device and technology “allows targeting of specific neuronal circuits using fMRI [functional magnetic resonance imaging], identification of malfunctioning circuits using fMRI ‘feedback’ and repair of the circuits using LIFUP to activate or inhibit them.”

Researchers administered 10 “sonications,” each 30 seconds in duration, separated by pauses of 30 seconds, over a 10-minute period. Rather than implanting electrodes directly inside the thalamus in a very risky surgical procedure, doctors simply attached the device, about 3 inches in diameter, and administered the treatment in an MRI scanner.

Designing a non-invasive device that would still allow for deep brain stimulation was no small feat. Mr. Wurster worked closely with Dr. Bystritsky to design a transducer housing device that would create and deliver a small sphere of acoustic energy with a pulse repetition frequency of 100 hertz and pulse width of 0.5 milliseconds.

Before the treatment, the patient showed only minimal signs of consciousness and understanding speech. The day of the treatment, after “sonication,” the patient showed measurable improvement — he was able to reach for objects in response to prompts from his caregivers.

The day after treatment, his “Coma Recovery Scale-Revised” score had improved from CRS-R 15 to CRS-R 17.
And within three days, he’d regained full language comprehension, responded to commands and communicated with “yes” and “no” head gestures. These are all behaviors consistent with emergence from a “minimally conscious state.”

This is a critical innovation.

This successful “first in man” clinical trial demonstrated a potential low-cost alternative to existing treatments for severe brain injury. Such a device might someday even help patients wake up from vegetative states.

Along with the current device used during Bradley Crehan’s treatment, Mr. Wurster has also designed a new stereotactic frame, which can repeatedly and more accurately relocate the head of a patient for subsequent treatments, without the need for an MRI.

With regard to the potential portable device, BrainSonix is looking at a substantial market opportunity: Research and Markets valued the global portable ultrasound device market at approximately $946.5 million in 2015. And it’s forecast to grow to $1.274 billion by 2021. Innovation around the edges will drive much of that growth – making existing devices more rugged, for example, or making them useful in the field while also cutting costs.

BrainSonix is onto something different — a more compelling innovation, with probably a much greater compound annual growth rate than the 5% rate predicted for the normal portable ultrasound industry.

Rates of survival after severe brain injury have certainly improved due to significant advances in modern intensive care medicine. But there are still a lot of people that don’t recover from comas and are left in a vegetative or minimally conscious state for the rest of their lives.

As the UCLA researchers point out, “These conditions place great emotional and financial strain on families, lead to increased burn-out rates among caretakers, impose financial stress on medical structures and public finances due to the costs of prolonged intensive care, and raise difficult legal and ethical questions.”

But more than that, BrainSonix’s technology will help people talk, walk, and live normally again.

About Mr. Wurster

Mr. Wurster is the President & CEO of Custom Stamping Inc. Along with his most recent work creating the BrainSonix UltraSonic Navigation Device, he is also the designer, inventor and engineer of multiple electronic products and devices and holds patents for over 25 inventions, including the airbag.

Woody Wurster
Custom Stamping Inc.

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Kristie Russell
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