Neurocontrol is a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) established in 2011 as part of the IMDI initiative, selected by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development as one of the spearheads of Medical Technology research in the Netherlands. It is a close collaboration between the TU Delft, Utwente, VUMC, VU, Radboudumc, LUMC, ErasmusMC, several companies, rehabilitation centres and other institutions and patient unions.
Companies involved in NeuroControl are typically high tech, opportunity seeking, innovative SMEs with expertise in biomedical engineering, mechatronics, electronics, software development and mechanics.
With the ageing of the society, the incidence of neurological diseases like stroke, Parkinson and Complex Regional Pain syndrome will increase. The socio-economic impact of stroke is very high. Estimated annual costs of stroke in the Netherlands are 1.200 M Euro. For people over 65 years it is the second in ranking after dementia. Parkinson’s disease is also an age-related disorder affecting 120-180 in 100,000 individuals. Syndromes associated with chronification of pain account for about 30% of sick leave of employees, costing several billions of Euros. The incidence is expected to have increased by 45% in 2025.
Currently, therapeutic options for stroke, Parkinson’s disease and neuropathic pain syndromes are sparse, not evidence-based but based on general concepts. This results in unnecessary long-lasting disability and loss of autonomy. This is in sharp contrast to one of the most important insights of the last decades that the human brain is highly flexible and can change function. This adaptive capacity of the human nervous system is called neuroplasticity.
NeuroControl focuses on exploiting neuroplasticity as the key towards the development of innovative tools for treatment and prevention of disabilities caused by chronic neurological diseases. To exploit neuroplasticity, novel diagnostic and therapeutic means will be developed by matching control-engineering with neuroscience, signal-processing with neurology, and robotics with rehabilitation medicine.