New York Patent of the Month – August 2021

It is possible to map the region of an individual’s brain responsible for processing language, sensory, and motor functions by measuring brain waves while a subject participates in certain tasks. The methods involved in this mapping have some serious limitations – including the need for subject responsiveness. This limitation means that any subject who inherently can’t meet the baseline responsiveness cannot be mapped – and this limits the subject pool significantly. This mapping is crucial during procedures like removing brain tumors. Each patient’s cranial anatomy is different, and mapping out the exact regions responsible for processing language or motor skills is key to ensuring the surgical procedure will not take away a patient’s functionality. 

Health Research, Inc. has designed a method to rapidly map the neural region responsible for language and motor function using recording electrodes. The electrodes are attached to the surface of a cortex and the subject is presented with auditory stimulus. This stimulus includes both speech and non-speech recordings. The brain activity is recorded during both and the region which processes speech sounds is identified by comparing differences between activity during speech and activity during non-speech stimulus. In both cases, the subject is not required to speak. Rather than analyzing the brain during the subject speaking, this method analyzes the subject while they listen. By removing the need for active participation, they expand the functionality of neural mapping and expand the subject base it works for. This even works for subjects under anesthesia. In this way, conscious or unconscious patients can have their surgeon track their neural capabilities during procedures and reduce the risk of losing language and motor function.

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