Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Step Toward Better Brain Implants Using Conducting Polymer Nanotubes

Date:
October 2, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Brain implants that can more clearly record signals from surrounding neurons in rats have been created. The findings could eventually lead to more effective treatment of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and paralysis.

This illustration depicts neurons firing (green structures in the foreground) and communicating with nanotubes in the background.
Credit: Illustration courtesy of Mohammad Reza Abidian.

Brain implants that can more clearly record signals from surrounding neurons in rats have been created at the University of Michigan. The findings could eventually lead to more effective treatment of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and paralysis.

Neural electrodes must work for time periods ranging from hours to years. When the electrodes are implanted, the brain first reacts to the acute injury with an inflammatory response. Then the brain settles into a wound-healing, or chronic, response.

It's during this secondary response that brain tissue starts to encapsulate the electrode, cutting it off from communication with surrounding neurons.

The new brain implants developed at U-M are coated with nanotubes made of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), a biocompatible and electrically conductive polymer that has been shown to record neural signals better than conventional metal electrodes.

U-M researchers found that PEDOT nanotubes enhanced high-quality unit activity (signal-to-noise ratio >4) about 30 percent more than the uncoated sites. They also found that based on in vivo impedance data, PEDOT nanotubes might be used as a novel method for biosensing to indicate the transition between acute and chronic responses in brain tissue.

The results are featured in the cover article of the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Advanced Materials. The paper is titled, "Interfacing Conducting Polymer Nanotubes with the Central Nervous System: Chronic Neural Recording using Poly(3-4-ethylenedioxythiophene) Nanotubes."

"Microelectrodes implanted in the brain are increasingly being used to treat neurological disorders," said Mohammad Reza Abidian, a post-doctoral researcher working with Professor Daryl Kipke in the Neural Engineering Laboratory at the U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering.

"Moreover, these electrodes enable neuroprosthetic devices, which hold the promise to return functionality to individuals with spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. However, robust and reliable chronic application of neural electrodes remains a challenge."

In the experiment, the researchers implanted two neural microelectrodes in the brains of three rats. PEDOT nanotubes were fabricated on the surface of every other recording site by using a nanofiber templating method. Over the course of seven weeks, researchers monitored the electrical impedance of the recording sites and measured the quality of recording signals.

PEDOT nanotubes in the coating enable the electrodes to operate with less electrical resistance than current metal electrode sites, which means they can communicate more clearly with individual neurons.

"Conducting polymers are biocompatible and have both electronic and ionic conductivity," Abidian said. "Therefore, these materials are good candidates for biomedical applications such as neural interfaces, biosensors and drug delivery systems."

In the experiments, the Michigan researchers applied PEDOT nanotubes to microelectrodes provided by the U-M Center for Neural Communication Technology. The PEDOT nanotube coatings were developed in the laboratory of David C. Martin, now an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and biomedical engineering. Martin is currently the Karl W. Bφer Professor and Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Delaware.

Martin is also co-founder and chief scientific officer for Biotectix, a U-M spinoff company located in Ann Arbor. The company is working to commercialize conducting polymer-based coatings for a variety of biomedical devices

In previous experiments, Abidian and his colleagues have shown that PEDOT nanotubes could carry with them drugs to prevent encapsulation.

"This study paves the way for smart recording electrodes that can deliver drugs to alleviate the immune response of encapsulation," Abidian said.

The research is funded by the Army Research Office, Center for Neural Communication Technology and National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Abidian et al. Interfacing Conducting Polymer Nanotubes with the Central Nervous System: Chronic Neural Recording using Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) Nanotubes. Advanced Materials, 2009; 21 (37): 3764 DOI: 10.1002/adma.200900887

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Step Toward Better Brain Implants Using Conducting Polymer Nanotubes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929181818.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2009, October 2). Step Toward Better Brain Implants Using Conducting Polymer Nanotubes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929181818.htm
University of Michigan. "Step Toward Better Brain Implants Using Conducting Polymer Nanotubes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929181818.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) — Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins