From MIT: “Making brain implants smaller could prolong their lifespan”

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MIT News

May 16, 2017
Anne Trafton

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Professor Michael Cima and his colleagues are now designing brain implants that can not only deliver electrical stimulation but also record brain activity or deliver drugs to very targeted locations. Image: Christine Daniloff/MIT

Thin fibers could be used to deliver drugs or electrical stimulation, with less damage to the brain.

Many diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, can be treated with electrical stimulation from an electrode implanted in the brain. However, the electrodes can produce scarring, which diminishes their effectiveness and can necessitate additional surgeries to replace them.

MIT researchers have now demonstrated that making these electrodes much smaller can essentially eliminate this scarring, potentially allowing the devices to remain in the brain for much longer.

“What we’re doing is changing the scale and making the procedure less invasive,” says Michael Cima, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and the senior author of the study, which appears in the May 16 issue of Scientific Reports.

Cima and his colleagues are now designing brain implants that can not only deliver electrical stimulation but also record brain activity or deliver drugs to very targeted locations.

The paper’s lead author is former MIT graduate student Kevin Spencer. Other authors are former postdoc Jay Sy, graduate student Khalil Ramadi, Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, and David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer.

See the full article here .
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