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Brain Recording Bettered

New flexible sensor allows high resolution mapping of brain activity to better guide brain surgery

02 February 2022

Brain Recording Bettered

Mapping electrical activity in the brain during surgery helps doctors determine which parts are functioning, which maybe diseased, and which bits are safe to remove or treat. The surgeon places a flexible sensor – arranged as a grid of typically 16 to 64 channels – directly onto the cortex to get the most accurate readings possible. But while such sensors can resolve electrical signals to approximately the nearest centimetre, a newly developed one (pictured) is set to provide 100x better resolution – to the nearest millimetre. The new sensor has 1024 channels (in a 3.2cm square grid) or 2048 (in an 8cm square) and is made from thinner, more flexible material than previous iterations to enable a better fit to the contours of the cortex. In short, if this device can be proven safe for clinical use it would give brain surgeons unprecedented accuracy in determining borders between healthy and unhealthy tissue.

Written by Ruth Williams

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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