Implant Electrode Could Help Monitoring Seizures in Epileptic Patients

Implant Electrode Could Help Monitoring Seizures in Epileptic Patients

Researchers at New York University, in collaboration with Peking University and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, recently developed a high-precision electrode implant called ‘’NeuroGrids’’ that has potential applications in monitoring brain neuronal activity, such as seizures in epilepsy.

The study, ‘’Organic electronic for high-resolution electrocorticography of the human brain,’’ was published in Science Advances.

The recurrent seizures in epilepsy are usually unpredictable, which places epileptic patients at constant risk. Also, the unusual electrical activities in various brain regions produced during seizure episodes are still not fully understood, mostly because of lack of appropriate advanced monitoring tools.

In this study, researchers developed NeuroGrids, a novel high-resolution electrode that could be suitable for monitoring changes in neurological activities of the brain.

The NeuroGrids could be beneficial for monitoring complex epileptic seizures, particularly during surgery. It also could be helpful for testing novel therapies while monitoring changes in activity of the brain regions during drug administration and testing.

Mikhail Lebedev, PhD, a neuroscientist at Duke University, who was not involved in the study, said in a story published recently on the Epilepsy Research UK website, that the new technique could “allow (neuroscientists) to localize the epileptic focus more accurately.”

The NeuroGrids is a four-micrometer-thick electrode composed of flexible polymers, which makes it suitable for implantation because it could limit damage to the tissue. The electrode also is characterized by high resolution and low cost compared to electrodes currently used.

The device was tested on epileptic patients during surgery and was found to be accurate in detecting the brain activity of individual cells.

‘’We have established the feasibility and safety of NeuroGrids to record high-quality electrophysiological signals in anesthetized and awake human subjects. The simultaneous acquisition of high-spatial resolution local field potential (LFP) with spiking activity may help interpret physiological and pathological patterns, without impeding identification of these patterns currently acquired by clinical arrays and amplifiers,’’ the authors concluded in their paper.

‘’Adaptation of NeuroGrids and associated components for prolonged recordings in patients with epilepsy will advance our capacity to define neurophysiological signatures and potentially improve the diagnostic precision of electrocorticography (ECoG) while reducing morbidity due to invasive electrodes,” they added.

While these preliminary results are encouraging, the developed method is still in its infancy. Before eventual clinical use, more research and development is required, including optimization of electrode size and response time.

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