A wearable device to help people with the rare genetic disorder PIEZO2-LOF. to assist

A wearable device to help people with the rare genetic disorder PIEZO2-LOF.  to assist

Credit: Kodali et al. (2022)

The piezo-type mechanosensitive ion channel component 2, or PIEZO2, is a protein-coding gene linked to mechanically activated (MA) cation channels, which link mechanical forces to biological signals. The protein encoded by PIEZO2 can rapidly adapt MA currents in somatosensory neurons, which are responsible for processing sensory information.

Loss of function (LOF) mutations in the PIEZO2 gene can lead to a rare genetic disorder associated with disturbances in the functioning of somatosensory neurons. It also results in an absence of proprioception (ie the perception or awareness of one’s own body posture and movements) and light touch.

People affected by this rare genetic disorder find it very difficult to perform functional tasks such as walking and manipulating objects. Although it can be very harmful, there are no treatments or assistive technologies specially designed for PIEZO-2 LOF.

A team of researchers from Stanford University and National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently developed the first wearable haptic device that can help individuals with this rare condition perform everyday tasks. This device, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, is designed to sense stimuli in the environment and then relay proprioceptive information to users.

“There are no pharmacological treatments or assistive technologies available for individuals with PIEZO2-LOF,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “We propose a sensory replacement device that communicates proprioceptive feedback via detectable haptic stimuli.”

Deep pressure sensations, such as those you might feel when someone hugs them, squeezes their hand, or grabs their arm, are intact in people with PIEZO2-Praise. Sreela Kodali and her colleagues at Stanford and NIH decided to take advantage of this when creating their device.

To wear this new device, users have to fasten it around one of their arms using wide Velcro straps integrated on the device. As they move, the device translates information related to the angle at which their elbows are positioned into deep pressure stimuli, which are then applied to the user’s forearm.

“We have created a wearable prototype that maps measurements of elbow movement to deep pressure on the forearm,” the researchers explained in their paper. “The prototype is applicable up to 18 N, includes a built-in force sensor and is programmable to allow for various angle-to-pressure mappings.”

The device created by Kodali and her colleagues is currently a prototype; so it will likely be quite some time before it is made available to the public. Nevertheless, once it is, it can really help people with PIEZO2-LOF live more functional lives.

“Our future work includes comparing proprioceptive acuity and locomotion and locomotion with and without the device in healthy and PIEZO2-LOF individuals, developing unobtrusive devices using soft robotics, providing sensory substitution for multiple joints simultaneously, and encoding additional aspects of joint problems. dynamics,” the researchers wrote in their paper.


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More information:
Portable haptic device for individuals with a congenital absence of proprioception. arXiv: 2206.08930 [cs.HC]† arxiv.org/abs/2206.08930

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Quote: A wearable device to help individuals with the rare genetic disorder PIEZO2-LOF (2022, July 5), retrieved July 5, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-wearable-device-individuals-rare – genetics. html

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