Our innovations in neurological care and research are making history.

From exploring the use of neuromodulation as a treatment for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, to helping a paralyzed man move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts, the research we are conducting is changing lives.

Ohio State is pioneering therapies and technology on every neurological front. We are a national leader in research and clinical applications of neuromodulation. We have one of the largest neuromuscular clinical and research programs in the country. And our neuro-oncology program has the largest brain tumor patient volumes in the region and leads the way in minimally invasive skull-base surgeries. In the last year, our neuroscience program treated more than 80,000 patients and performed more than 3,200 surgical procedures.

The OSU Wexner Medical Center has brought together five of our neuroscience-related departments into one comprehensive neuroscience program. This combines the talents of more than 170 faculty members in the departments of Neuroscience, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

In addition to our world-class care and innovative therapies, we are leading the nation in research of neurological conditions. We are one of only five neuroscience centers in the country selected by the National Institutes of Health to participate in both the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials Network and NeuroNEXT: Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials.

Read more about our two newest ground-breaking projects:

Neurobridge Collaboration

Neurobridge Collaboration

Paralyzed man moves hand using own thoughts

For the first time in medical history, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to an innovative partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle.

Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic man from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient in the world to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb.

Neurobridge was developed by scientists at OSU Wexner Medical Center and Battelle. Two years ago, Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle, teamed up with Ohio State neuroscience researchers Ali Rezai, MD, and Jerry Mysiw, MD, to test the device. On April 22, 2014, Ohio State neurosurgeons Milind Deogankar, MBBS, and Rezai, with Bouton, implanted a computer chip smaller than a pea into Burkhart's brain.

Neurobridge technology uses a specialized sleeve on the forearm to communicate with the chip in Burkhart's brain. The chip processes a patient’s thoughts, then bypasses the spinal cord, sending signals directly to the sleeve to produce movement. Within a tenth of a second, Burkhart's thoughts are translated into action.

Witness the History

For the first time, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hands using his own thoughts.

two doctors, two researchers, and a patient

The Team

The Neurobridge Collaboration team included, from left, Ali Rezai, MD; Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle; Milind Deogankar, MBBS; and Jerry Mysiw, MD. They are pictured with Ian Burkhart, the first patient in the world to use Neurobridge.

patient with neurobridge on arm

The Technology

Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic man from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient in the world to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb. Burkhart, a quadriplegic since 2010, worked with doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and researchers from Battelle to test the high-tech sleeve on his forearm. The sleeve is connected to a tiny chip in Ian`s brain that allows him to move his hand and fingers simply by thought.

Neurostimulator

Neurostimulator

Hope of relief from cluster headaches 

Doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center performed the first surgery in the United States Aug. 13, 2014, to implant a small device known as a neurostimulator to alleviate the excruciating pain from cluster headaches. Sinus surgeon Bradley Otto, MD, and oral surgeon Peter Larsen, DDS, inserted the neurostimulator to trigger a nerve bundle located behind the nose that plays a major role in severe headaches.

When patients feel a cluster headache starting, they hold the handheld remote controller to their cheek to activate the stimulator to block pain signals. “Cluster headaches are among the most painful experiences known to man, which is why it’s important to look at options to help these patients,” states Ali Rezai, MD, director of Ohio State’s Neuroscience Program. He is not involved in the clinical trial but he has been involved in the scientific development of this technology and has a financial interest in the company.

First-of-a-Kind Surgery in U.S.

For the first time in the United States, our doctors are one step closer to providing relief for those living with severe cluster headaches.

Man holding headache wand to cheek

'Turning Off' Headaches

Dr. Bradley Otto demonstrates the use of a hand-held device that essentially 'turns off' severe cluster headache pain. The device activates a tiny neurostimulator inside the patient's head, which disrupts the nerve signals responsible for cluster headaches. Otto led the team of doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who were the first in the United States to insert the device.

hand holding implant

The Device

Ohio State surgeons inserted a small device to stimulate a nerve bundle located behind the nose that plays a major role in severe headaches. Since there are no internal batteries or other structures that need to be routinely removed, once the neurostimulator device is placed, it can be left forever.

Some of our recent highlights include:

Spinal Cord Injury Repair

Ohio State’s Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Program is one of only two sites designated a Facility of Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means we are charged with replicating promising research findings and training scientists from around the world in preclinical SCI modeling techniques. With NIH funding, we are testing strategies to restore iron homeostasis after spinal cord injury by manipulating select receptors and iron regulatory proteins. If these strategies are successful, data from these experiments could form the basis for developing new therapies for SCI and the application of similar iron regulatory techniques in other neurological diseases.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatment

We have developed novel in vivo models to test mechanisms and therapeutics for human motor neuron diseases. In particular, our work on spinal muscular atrophy has shown a deficit in motor neuron development, and we have developed an assay to test targeted therapeutics to examine their role in this process.

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

We are very excited about our research on the impact deep brain stimulation has on treating Alzheimer’s disease. DBS involves surgically implanting tiny electrodes into the brain and connecting them to a small pacemaker-like device (with a programmable battery) that has been implanted into the chest wall. The electrodes deliver tiny electrical signals that calm abnormal brain signals, alleviating disabling symptoms, such as tremors, and restoring function to the patient. In 2012, we were the first hospital in the United States to implant a brain pacemaker in an Alzheimer’s patient, with promising outcomes.

Fixing Back Problems

The Biodynamics Lab at our Comprehensive Spine Center employs state-of-the-art technology to understand back disorders, using high-level modeling of patients’ statuses and dynamic magnetic resonance imaging that show what happens when patients move. Our Biodynamics Laboratory is a unique marriage of clinical treatment and research involving partnership with our colleges of Medicine and Engineering.

Neuromodulation Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury

Ohio State is the first medical center to study deep brain stimulation for people with traumatic brain injuries who are conscious and able to interact but have severely reduced ability to regulate emotion and behavior. In addition, we are investigating the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation as a noninvasive treatment for depression in patients with TBI.

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