News Release
 

April 20, 2010

CONTACT: Karen Kreeger
215-349-5658
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu


Penn Medicine - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Health System


This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2010/04/silk-based-brain-implants/

A Brain-Recording Device that Melts into Place

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: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/melting_brain_implant.htm.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.