Researchers devise New Neuroelectronic System to Read and Alter Brain Circuits

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Following a research initiative, a team of Columbia engineers have come with a new approach for implanting responsive neurostimulation devices. Meanwhile, continued research on the brain shows reactive neurostimulation is proving to be highly successful to probe neural circuit function and for treating neuropsychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy. However, current approaches to design a device that is fully implantable and biocompatible for such procedures have major limitations: the resolution is not high enough, most require large, bulky devices that make implantation difficult with the risk of complications.

Building on earlier work, the researchers orchestrated devices to create high performance implantable circuits that enable reading and manipulation of brain circuits. The objective is to develop smaller, more efficient conformable bioelectronics transistors and materials. Importantly, the multiplex-then-amplify system developed by the researchers requires only one amplifier per multiplier, contrary to current approaches that require an equal number of amplifiers as number of channels.

Meanwhile, it is critical to be able to diagnose and intervene to treat brain-related conditions such as epileptic seizures in real time. Throwing light on the newly devised system, it is much smaller, more flexible than current devices, and also enables concurrent stimulation of arbitrary waveforms on a multitude of independent channels, hence, is more versatile.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Currently, for clinical use, to record, diagnose, and localize epileptic discharges, it requires to log brain activity at multiple locations with high temporal resolution. This requires high sampling rate, multi-channel acquisition, circuit, and stimulation device. Besides this, conventional circuits require equal number of amplifying circuits to work as channels before the signals can be combined into a stream of data using multiplexing.

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