American Society for Peripheral Nerve

Spring 2014   •   Volume 4, Issue 1
25 New Members for Election in 2015!

Earlier in the year, President Nash Naam informed the membership that in 2014 the Society would undertake a membership campaign to recruit new members to the ASPN for increased collaboration, and to foster development and knowledge exchange. His challenge to the membership is to recruit at least 25 new members in 2014!

THANK YOU!!!

To all the members who recruited new candidates for membership. So far, we have 21 applications in process. Our goal is 25. We still need your help.

Please utilize your peripheral nerve and nerve regeneration contacts and educate them on the value of the ASPN and the ability to enhance one’s practice by becoming a member. Inform your colleagues that ASPN membership benefits include access to research grant funding, significantly reduced registration rates for ASPN Annual Meetings which are held in warm, family-friendly locations each January, opportunities to hold office and serve on ASPN committees, complimentary access to the Plastic Surgery Education Network (PSEN), and access to the ASPN newsletter. New applicants should visit the ASPN website to review membership categories and complete an online application.

New ASPN Office Address and Redesigned ASPN Website

As of February 1, 2014, the American Society for Peripheral Nerve has a new address:

ASPN Administrative Office
500 Cummings Center, Ste 4550
Beverly, MA 01915

The Society’s Website and Technical Exhibits Committee has recently overseen a redesign of the ASPN website. The newly designed website is now available at http://peripheralnerve.org. A few exciting additions you may wish to explore include the online membership applications and list of membership benefits, Annual Meeting information, and FAQ section. Please browse the redesigned website at your leisure and feel free to provide feedback and recommendations to admin@peripheralnerve.org.

Grant Opportunities for ASPN Members

The ASPN co-sponsors a Combined Research Grant with the Plastic Surgery Foundation. The ASPN/PSF Combined Pilot Research Grant is intended to fund a research project that will advance the scientific knowledge and clinical practice of peripheral nerve surgery. This grant is worth up to $10,000 and it can be used for consumables or personnel costs in support of a research project. The ASPN co-sponsors one such grant per year. To be eligible, one of the applicants must be an ASPN member. ASPN members from any training background are encouraged to apply, including basic scientists, therapists, and surgeons of any discipline.

For further information please visit http://www.thepsf.org/research/psf-grant-funding/combined-research-grant.htm

Nicholas Langhals, MD at the University of Michigan was awarded the 2013 ASPN/PSF Combine Pilot Research Grant with his grant entitled, “Biosignal Insulators in Regeneration Peripheral Nerve Interfaces”.

Project Description: There are over 1.7 million people within the United States currently suffering from some type of limb loss, and this number continues to grow by 185,000 each year. Typical upper extremity replacement limbs are passive prosthetic devices and provide little functional recovery beyond basic grasping. Newer prostheses that add additional control through using muscle activity of the patient’s remaining muscle groups increase the utility of these replacement limbs. The current state of the art treatment allows subjects to have the greatest restoration of function through targeted reinnervation of muscle groups using nerve from the amputated limb. However, these devices have limited control options for prostheses with multiple degrees of freedom and are generally difficult to master.

We have developed a regenerative peripheral nerve interface (RPNI) that creates a biologically robust and functional connection to the nerve in an amputated limb through the use of a graft of free muscle tissue. The graft is then sutured to the severed residual nerve, and electrodes are affixed allowing signals to be recorded from the nerve (epineural electrode), or the muscle (epimysial electrode). These electrophysiological signals are then used for control of a replacement robotic arm.

We propose to quantify the effect of neuromuscular amplification in regenerative peripheral nerve interfaces.

Using a rodent model developed within our research group, we will quantify the information content that can be recorded by using a neuromuscular “amplifier”. Nerve signals will be sampled after they have been “amplified” by the muscle, thereby providing a higher signal-to-noise ratio without signal loss from electrode encapsulation and tissue trauma from direct epineural electrode placement. Further, the use of epimysial electrodes should increase the overall long-term stability of the interface, compared to current methods utilizing penetrating electrodes either in the nerve or muscle.


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