Penn Medicine scientists and colleagues have developed a brain implant that essentially melts into place, snugly fitting to the brain's surface. The technology could pave the way for better devices to monitor and control seizures, and to transmit signals from the brain past damaged parts of the spinal cord. The ultrathin flexible implants, made partly from silk, can record brain activity more faithfully than thicker implants embedded with similar electronics.
“The focus of our study was to make ultrathin arrays that conform to the complex shape of the brain, and limit the amount of tissue damage and inflammation,” said coauthors Brian Litt, MD, associate professor of Neurology and associate professor of Bioengineering in Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science, and PhD student Jonathan Viventi. The silk-based implants, developed by Dr. Litt and colleagues at Tufts University and the University of Illinois, can hug the brain like shrink wrap, collapsing into its grooves and stretching over its rounded surfaces. The study appears this month in Nature Materials.
For more information, refer to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke news release.
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