Researchers from the University of Sassari Medical School in Italy have created a tiny implantable brain sensor that can accurately measure oxygen levels within the organ. The hope for the new sensor is that it might serve as a tool to assess regional brain perfusion in critically ill patients or the effectiveness of drugs for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in preclinical trials.
From an American Chemical Society press release:
In the new report, Pier Andrea Serra and colleagues note that the most common method for monitoring brain neurochemical levels is microdialysis, a technique that requires insertion of a relatively big probe into the brain. That technique, however, has several disadvantages including low sample rate and the necessity of a complex analytical apparatus.
Serra and colleagues describe development and testing in laboratory rats of a wireless sensor that overcomes some of those drawbacks. The scientists used a variety of techniques — including physiological stimuli and pharmacological treatments — to raise or lower their brain oxygen levels. The simple sensor quickly and reliably recorded real-time changes in these oxygen levels and can help provide a better understanding of the brain in health and disease, the researchers say. The proposed system could be used in conjunction with a wide range of microsensors and biosensors for monitoring small molecules in the brain.
Abstract in Analytical Chemistry: Real-Time Monitoring of Brain Tissue Oxygen Using a Miniaturized Biotelemetric Device Implanted in Freely Moving Rats…