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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2007;97(Pt 2):537-45.

Trimodal nanoelectrode array for precise deep brain stimulation: prospects of a new technology based on carbon nanofiber arrays.

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Center for Nanotechnology, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.


Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) has recently been shown to be effective for neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, there are many limitations of the current technology: the large size of current microelectrodes (approximately 1 mm diameter); the lack of monitoring of local brain electrical activity and neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine in Parkinson's disease); the open-loop nature of the stimulation (i.e. not guided by brain electrochemical activity). Reducing the size of the monitoring and stimulating electrodes by orders of magnitude (to the size of neural elements) allows remarkable improvements in both monitoring (spatial resolution, temporal resolution, and sensitivity) and stimulation. Carbon nanofiber nanoelectrode technology offers the possibility of trimodal arrays (monitoring electrical activity, monitoring neurotransmitter levels, precise stimulation). DBS can then be guided by changes in brain electrical activity and/or neurotransmitter levels (i.e. closed-loop DBS). Here, we describe the basic manufacture and electrical characteristics of a prototype nanoelectrode array for DBS, as well as preliminary studies with electroconductive polymers necessary to optimize DBS in vivo. An approach such as the nanoelectrode array described here may offer a generic electrical-neural interface for use in various neural prostheses.

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