Albany Med Brain Mapping Research Showcased at International Gathering
March 28, 2014 - Albany , NY
ALBANY, N.Y., March 28, 2014 - Albany Medical College and the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center last week hosted some of the world's top scientists, neurologists and neurosurgeons at an international conference in Berlin, Germany on mapping electrical activity in the brain.
Held in conjunction with the International Congress of Clinical Neurophysiology (ICCN), Albany Med researchers led a workshop showcasing advanced brain computer-interface (BCI) technology and research conducted by Albany-based physicians and researchers. BCI technology can be used to help those who are paralyzed or disabled communicate or move using only the signals from their brain.
"The International Congress of Neurophysiology is an extremely important gathering for furthering research on issues that could help patients with a wide range of brain challenges," said Anthony Ritaccio, M.D., J. Spencer Standish professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Albany Medical College.
"The work Albany Med and Wadsworth Labs is doing is providing tremendous benefits not just for patients here, but for researchers and practitioners around the world," said Ritaccio, who serves as director of Albany Med's epilepsy and human brain mapping program.
Dr. Ritaccio and Gerwin Schalk, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at Albany Med, are currently leading an international academic partnership to create a research lab in Italy modeled after the BCI lab at Albany Med/Wadsworth through a three-million euro ($3.7 million) grant from the European Union.
Physicians and researchers at Albany Med and Wadsworth have pioneered many of the advances in electrocorticography, the recording and interpretation of electrical activity from the surface of the brain. Scientists around the world have adopted these techniques.
"These workshops serve to review recent findings in this area from around the world for their potential use in clinical care and for therapies for many neurologic and movement disorders," said Ritaccio. "In fact, Japanese neurosurgeons have very aggressively adopted our technique as a neurosurgical staple of brain mapping."
The ability to decode and map brain function is an essential part of brain computer-interface (BCI) technology, which involves reading brain signals with the goal of translating pure thoughts into action. BCI technology could help those who are paralyzed or disabled communicate or move using only the signals from their brain.
Drs. Ritaccio and Schalk also are conducting BCI research funded by a multi-million dollar grant from the United States Department of Defense.
More information and a video describing brain mapping is available at: http://www.amc.edu/Patient/services/neurosciences/neurology/index.cfm.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with more than 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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