Developing Next-Gen EEG

It is hoped that a Next-Gen EEG device could help to bring back lost brain function. The Next-Gen EEG is under development at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University https://www6.slac.stanford.edu. The goal is to help bring back lost brain function by measuring how the brain responds to therapies that will stimulate the brain with electric current.

“The approach could open new avenues for treating brain disorders and selectively switching brain activities on and off,” said Anthony Norcia, Stanford Professor of Psychology, who initiated the project.

Neuro stimulation via electrodes placed on the scalp shows a lot of promise, but its immediate effects are hard to study because the brain’s neural response gets easily swamped by the million times stronger pulses that researchers send into the brain.

“The device works similar to radar, which sends out electromagnetic waves and passively listens for the weaker reflected waves, “ reports SLAC Senior Scientist Christopher Kenney. “We send electrical pulses into the head via the electrodes of an EEG monitoring system and in the time between these strong pulses, we use the same electrodes to pick up the much weaker electrical signals from inside the head.”

Since it has been a year since the project received funding through Stanford Bio-X, https://biox.stanford.edu, the team has successfully tested a prototype for an EEG system that can deliver electrical brain stimulation and measure the brain’s ongoing activity at the same time.

More work needs to be done before studies can be done on a large group of people. For example, future versions of the device will have more electrodes and will provide more control over the way the pulses are delivered. The hope is to eventually develop a device on a chip to make neuro stimulation available to patients wherever they go.

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