Human Body Innervation Mapping Projects: SPARC (NIH) and ElectRx (DARPA)


 1. #NIH_SPARC: The SPARC Initiative, "Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions"

(US$248-million budget)




Mapping Innervation of Major Internal Organs – #NIH_SPARC Funding Opportunities Available!


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"The SPARC program tentatively plans to support interdisciplinary teams of investigators to deliver neural circuit maps of several organ systems, novel electrode designs, minimally invasive surgical procedures, and stimulation protocols, driven by an end goal to develop new neuromodulation therapies."





2. Electrical Prescriptions #ElectRx by DARPA


ElectRx is on! Program to support self-healing w/ modulation of peripheral nervous system. 

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Contracts awarded for DARPA's ElectRx. Teams to map neural circuits, build bio-interfaces. 



Nerve-stimulation technology described by @ScienceNews is the basis of DARPA's ElectRx program. 



cf internal page DARPA



Article: "DARPA Wants to Jolt the Nervous System with Electricity, Lasers, Sound Waves, and Magnets"






via IEEE Spectrum‏: Vagus Nerve Stimulation Fights Rheumatoid Arthritis 




Information on Neuromodulation


Inflammation is driven by vagus nerve signals



TNF is a molecule that promotes inflammation. It is involved in many autoimmune and immune-mediated disorders e.g. rheumatoid arthritis. Neurosurgeon K.J. Tracey found that electrical signals that eventually mediate its release pass by the vagus nerve, a nerve that begins from the brain stem, at the level of the ear, and innervates all major organs.


One of the current therapeutic approaches for inflammation are anti-TNF antibodies that bind and neutralize the TNF molecules. In what other way could TNF release and therefore inflammation be blocked? Neurosurgeon K.J. Tracey describes in this Scientific American article :


"When I applied the tip of the nerve stimulator to the vagus nerve of anesthetized rats, TNF production in various organs was blocked. Here was proof that electrical transmissions carried in the vagus nerve regulated TNF production by the immune system. This experiment inspired us to consider that treating inflammatory diseases using a bioelectronic device might be possible."


A rheumatoid arthritis patient, “a middle-aged father of young children, he told me that his hands, feet and knees hurt so much that he spent days at a time lying on the couch, unable to work, play with his children or enjoy life. (…) Neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator just underneath his collarbone—and the man went home hoping for the best. Within days he was improving. Within weeks he was nearly pain-free.”


K.J. Tracey introduced the notion of the inflammatory reflex. Similar to the knee-jerk reflex, acute inflammation is reflexive. (Reference)




Recording body neural code - Deciphering it and applying it over pathological one


If the neural electrical signals towards a specific organ are incorrect this can lead to disease; by applying the correct electrical signals a disease condition can be treated.




Examples - Patents


First patent that is cited:


Electrical wave-forms 

"Human and other mammals, and even lower creatures of all types, generate electrical wave-forms from their respective brains that modulate key aspects of vegetative systems. Such waveforms are of similar general linear analog format in appearance, regardless of species."


Correct as opposed to pathological wave-forms can be recorded and applied over pathological ones to treat conditions

"Seismic, ultrasonic, receiving antennas, direct conduction and other methods may be used to capture the coded brain signals as they relate to body organ performance. Such signals are then stored and replicated for electrical return to the appropriate place for medical treatment concerned with modulating organ function."