Advances in Brain Research

Neurosurgeons at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and at leading university medical centers have developed and are using ClearPoint® technology to minimize the structural and clinical risks in performing brain surgery. The technology enables neurosurgeons to operate safely and precisely on structures deep in the brain through small openings in the skull. 

Working much like a GPS tracking system, the ClearPoint system integrates with magnetic resonance imaging, scanners, and then streams high resolution three dimensional images to neurosurgeons. Scanning and guidance technology is used in conjunction with surrogate markers which are chemical entities developed by researchers to guide drugs to specific targets within the brain.

With the use of this new technology, neurosurgery can be done with greater assurance of minimal damage to surrounding tissues while providing confirmation of the delivery of drugs targeted to tissues in real-time.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has been working on “Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy, (fNIRS) an emerging optical neuroimaging indirectly measures neuronal activity in the brain’s cortex. The equipment is portable, non-confining, relatively inexpensive, and appropriate to use for long duration monitoring and can be used at the bedside. Like fMRI, it is noninvasive and safe for repeated measurements.

 

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