NIH https://www.nih.gov awarded a $12.5 million grant to the University of California San Diego (UCSD) to develop and enhance brain sensing and brain stimulation platform technologies to help treat drug resistant epilepsy.
UCSD Professor Shadi Dayeh and the Integrated Electronics and Biointerfaces Lab http://iebl.ucsd.edu are leading the project. Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterized by repeated seizures and affects more than 3.4 million in the U.S according to CDC. Nearly one third of these individuals suffer from poor seizure control even after all current medical therapies are used.
It is important to identify the abnormal brain tissue generating the seizures. Surgeons work to target the area for surgical removal or to implant an electrical pulse generator to modify seizure generation. Current technologies to identify specific regions in the brain that trigger epileptic seizures are imprecise. What is needed is improved mapping of the abnormal brain tissue to allow better surgical planning.
Professor Dayeh understands that lab materials, devices, and integration techniques could allow for sensor grids that can offer the surgeons a clearer picture of the spots in the brain likely to initiate seizures.
The NIH grant will enable the team to expand technical refinement of these higher density grids and enable the grids to be ready for clinical trials in people. The NIH grant also includes funding for engineers at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering https://jacobsschool.ucsd.edu to lead multiple efforts to make the device wireless and clinically viable.