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