US 3669119 A
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United States Patent Symmes 1 June 13, 1972 [5 ADJUSTABLE ELECTRODE MEANS 3,464,403 9/1969 Figar ..l28/4l0 FOR A SLEEP INDUCING MACHINE 1,074,146 9/1913 PP 1,684,860 9/1928 Katlin ..l28/4l0  Inventor: Paul S. Symmes, Cornwall Heights, Pa.
73 Assi nee: American Clinic Inc. Seattle, Wash. Emminer wmiam Kamm 1 g Attorney-Edward M. Farrell  Filed: March 4, 1970 21 Appl. No.: 16,441  ABSTRACT A mask adapted to be worn on the head of a person includes  U S CI 128/410 128/1 C more than two electrodes adapted to couple electrical pulse 5 I] A6ln 1/04 signals to provide parallel current paths from a pulse source to  Fieid 405 410 the head of the person to induce sleep or relaxation. Flexible members couple the signals to difierent surfaces of the person's head. Adjustment means are associated with at least one of the flexible elements to vary the state of compression  Referenm Cited thereof and thereby balance the current paths between the UNITED STATES PATENTS two current paths provided by the two electrodes.
3,376,870 4/1968 Yamamoto et a1 128/1 C 4 Claim, 6 Drawing figures PULSE SIGNALS PATENTEnJlm 13 m2 INVENTOR. PAUL s. SYMMES BY PULSE SIGNALS ATTORNEY I H I I I I I i f I I I f I I I I p I I i d I ADJUSTABLE ELECTRODE MEANS FOR A SLEEP INDUCING MACHINE In recent years, considerable interest has been aroused in the successful inducement of sleep by weak electrical stimuli to the brain. Sleep has been induced in people by the application of a weak, pulsating external stimulus of long duration.
Some of the machines in use have included battery operated machines utilizing 35 to 50 volt operation or l to 125 A. C. plug-in type models. These machines have used special masks containing electrodes which fit over the eyes and either over the mastoidal process or in back of the head. A source of power provides rectangular impulses current ranging anywhere from 1 to 500 impulses per second. The frequency and amplitude of the impulses are generally variable.
In coupling the electrical pulse signals from the source to the head of a person, soft spongy coupling elements have been employed. Generally, these coupling elements are saturated with a conductive solution such as salt water so that the electrical signals from the electrodes may be coupled to the head of the person.
In applying the mask including the electrodes and associated coupling elements to a patient, it is often difficult to obtain precise coupling from both electrodes to the head of the person. As a result, the amplitude of the pulsesignals through one current path tends to be different than the signals through the other current path. Very often, the patient is more receptive to the treatment when the both current paths are equalized.
The unequalized current paths may be a result of unequal tension of the coupling elements, differences in the physical surfaces of the body of the patient, slight differences in the characteristics of the coupling elements or for a variety of other reasons.
While it is of course possible to provide potentiometers in the machine providing the pulse signals to produce pulses of different amplitudes, this is not always desirable because very often it is the tension of the coupling elements which needs adjusting and not necessarily the amplitude of the signals. Also, by adjusting the amplitude, additional circuit complexity and expense would be involved.
It is an object of this invention to provide an improved means for adjusting the current paths produced by a sleep inducing machine in a patient.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved sleep inducing machine wherein a patient using the machine may easily adjust the tension of one electrode with respect to the other to attain equalization between the two current paths.
In accordance with the present invention, a source of variable electrical pulse signals is adapted to be coupled to the head of a patient through a pair of output electrodes. Flexible coupling elements are used to couple the signals from the electrodes to the head of the person providing two parallel current paths through the patients head. Adjustible means are provided for one or both of the coupling elements to permit compression or expansion of one of the coupling elements with respect to the other. This enables the patient to adjust the state of compression of the coupling elements to equalize the state of compression or current paths of electrodes.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent and suggest themselves to those skilled in the art from a reading of the following specification and claims, in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. I is a simplified schematic diagram, partly in block diagram form, illustrating a sleep inducing machine, in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 illustrates a sleep inducing machine applied to a patient, in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 3 illustrates one type of mask which may be used with the present invention;
FIG. 4 illustrates the rear part of the mask of FIG. 3 showing the adjustment feature of the present invention;
FIG. 5 illustrates the front part of the mask of FIG. 4, and
FIG. 6 is a crosssectional view taken along lines 66 of FIG. 5.
Referring particularly to FIG. I, an electric sleep inducing machine 10 is designed to produce electrical pulse signals which are rectangular in shape. The frequency, amplitude and duration of these signals may be controlled by well-known means, not illustrated. The output signals from the machine 10 are applied to a pair of parallel paths through electrodes 12 and 14. The return paths back to the machine are through ground electrodes 16 and 18. In some cases only a single ground electrode may be necessary.
In FIG. 2, the machine 10 is illustrated coupled to the head of a patient. The signals from the machine 10 is coupled to the electrodes 12, l4, l6 and 18 which are disposed within the mask 20. The mask 20 is adapted to be tied around the head of the pau'ent, with the electrodes 12 and 14 fitting over the eyelids and the electrodes 16 and 18 adapted to contact the back of the head or neck of the patient. Of course, the polarity of the arrangement illustrated may be reversed without affecting the basic operation.
Referring particularly to FIG. 3, the mask 20 comprises a flexible insulated material, such as rubber or plastic. The mask may include two pieces 22 and 24 (FIG. 6) adapted to be suitable bonded to each other. One of the pieces 22 may include appropriate cutouts to receive the electrodes and coupling elements, as will be described. The piece 24 may include an opening to receive a shaft therethrough to receive an adjustment means, also to be described.
Electrical leads 26 and 28 are provided in the mask 20 to connect the electrical signals from the machine 20 to the patient. The circuitry involved may be basically that illustrated in FIG. 1. Cords or strings 30 and 32 are provided to permit the mask to be tied around the head of the patient.
Referring to FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, the portion of the mask associated with the electrode 12 is illustrated, it being understood that a similar arrangement may also be present with respect to the electrode 14. The electrodes 12 and 14 may include adjustment means to be described. The ground electrodes 16 and 18 may take a somewhat different form, if desired, and need not have any adjustment means associated therewith. However, in some cases it is recognized that it may be desirable to have the adjustment means disposed towards the rear of the patients head rather than the front.
The electrode 12 may comprise a metallic screen-like element, connected to receive electrical impulses from the leads of the machine 10. The portion of the mask 22 includes a eutout portion 34 for receiving various elements between the bonded pieces 22 and 24, in the manner illustrated. A flexible spongy coupling element 36 is disposed between the pieces 22 and 24 in direct contact with the electrode 12. The flexible element 36 is adapted to receive saline water or other conductive liquid therein.
When the mask 20 is in place on the patient, the flexible element 36 physically engages the eyelid of the patient. When electrical pulse signals are applied from the machine 10 to the electrode 12, the signals are coupled through the flexible element 36 to the eyelid of the patient.
An arrangement for adjusting the state of compression of the flexible element 36 includes a backup plate 38 disposed adjacent the electrode 12. The plate 38 may be an insulated material or, in some cases, may take the place of the electrode 12 and be a conductive material. The backup plate 38 is secured to a threaded shaft 40 which extends through an opening in the piece 24. A knob 42 is secured to the end of the shaft to enable a patient to provide manual control. A flat piece 44 is bonded to the interior of the piece 24 and is threaded to receive the shaft 40. Thus when the patient turns the knob 42, the flexible element 36 is either compressed or expanded depended upon the direction or rotation of the knob and the condition of the flexible element.
In operation, if a patient is receiving pulse signals from the machine 10, he feels the pulse signals at both eyelids. In the event that the states of compression of the flexible elements associated with the two electrodes 12 and 14 are different, he may experience some discomfort or distraction as a result of the difierent amplitude signals so as to prevent him from achieving the full benefit of the treatment of the sleep inducing machine.
In order to minimize the slight differences in state of compression or amplitude of the applied signals, the patient need only adjust the knob 42 thereby varying the state of compression of the flexible element which provides the coupling from the electrodes to the head of the patient.
As mentioned, in some cases the different amplitudes in the applied signals may be a result of the differences in the skin area characteristics of the person involved, slight differences in the saline solutions within the flexible elements or for a variety of other reasons.
Whatever the reasons for the differences, the present invention has provided a relatively simple means for overcoming these differences without resorting to extensive changes in circuitry or by resorting to controls out of the reach of the patient.
What is claimed is:
1. In combination with a source of electrical pulse signals, a mask adapted to be worn on the head of a person, first and second pairs electrodes connected to said source to provide a pair of parallel current paths, said first and second pairs of electrodes being secured to said mask, flexible coupling elements in contact with said first pair of electrodes to provide coupling from said electrodes to the front surfaces of the head of said person, said flexible elements having conductive fluid therein, adjustable means in physical engagement with at least one of the flexible elements in one of said parallel current paths to permit said one flexible element to be adjusted to vary the state of compression of said flexible element on the head of said person and the amount of current flowing through the path including said one flexible element engaging said adjustment means.
2. The invention as set forth in claim 1 wherein said adjustment means includes a knob, a backup plate secured to said mask and having threaded connecting means in engagement with said one flexible element, a threaded shaft connected between said knob and said backup plate to enable a person to turn said knob to manually compress or expand said one flexible element.
3. The invention as set forth in claim 2 wherein said mask is adapted to fit around the head of said person with said first pair of electrodes disposed to contact the eyelids of said per son with said flexible elements between said first pair of electrodes and said eyelids, with said adjustment means being connected to said first pair of electrodes to permit manual adjustment by said person.
4. The invention as set forth in claim 3 wherein one of said pairs of electrodes are provided to contact the rear of the head of said person to provide a return path to said source of electrical signals.