Surgical treatment of epilepsy requires accurately identifying where in the brain aberrant electrical signals originate. So far this has been less than ideal and current electrocorticography is only able to point to fairly large volumes of the brain as the source of the unwanted signals. Now a scientific collaboration has shown that a new device, called the NeuroGrid, is able to record brain activity from swathes of neurons and individual neurons at the same time.
The NeuroGrid was trialed on five human patients undergoing resection surgery. The 120 electrodes on the super-thin flexible polymer sheet are able to make good contact with the surface of the brain and record activity from a large number of neurons below it. An external device amplifies the gathered signals that are then processed by a computer to give surgeons a clear picture of what the brain is up to.
From the study abstract in journal Science Advances:
We describe a large-scale, high-density, organic material–based, conformable neural interface device (“NeuroGrid”) capable of simultaneously recording local field potentials (LFPs) and action potentials from the cortical surface. We demonstrate the feasibility and safety of intraoperative recording with NeuroGrids in anesthetized and awake subjects. Highly localized and propagating physiological and pathological LFP patterns were recorded, and correlated neural firing provided evidence about their local generation. Application of NeuroGrids to brain disorders, such as epilepsy, may improve diagnostic precision and therapeutic outcomes while reducing complications associated with invasive electrodes conventionally used to acquire high-resolution and spiking data.
Study in Science Advances: Organic electronics for high-resolution electrocorticography of the human brain…
Image: Dion Khodagholy, NYU Neuroscience Institute