Building better brain implants: The challenge of longevity

In this experiment, we describe a method for environmentally-controlled microtensile testing of mechanically-adaptive polymer nanocomposites for ex-vivo characterization. Credit: The Journal of Visualized Experiments

On August 20, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments will publish a technique from the Capadona Lab at Case Western Reserve University to accommodate two challenges inherent in brain-implantation technology, gauging the property changes that occur during implantation and measuring on a micro-scale. These new techniques open the doors for solving a great challenge for bioengineers—crafting a device that can withstand the physiological conditions in the brain for the long-term.

"We created an instrument to measure the mechanical properties of micro-scale , after being explanted from living animals," explained the lab's principal investigator, Dr. Jeffrey R. Capadona. By preserving the changing properties that occurred during implantation even after removal, the technique offers potential to create and test new materials for devices. It could result in producing longer lasting and better suited devices for the highly-tailored functions.

For implanted devices, withstanding the high-temperatures, moisture, and other in-vivo properties poses a challenge to longevity. Resulting changes in stiffness, etc, of an implanted material can trigger a greater inflammatory response. "Often, the body's reaction to those implants causes the device to prematurely fail," says Dr. Capadona, "In some cases, the patient requires regular to replace or revise the implants."

New implantation materials may help find solutions to restore motor function in individuals who have suffered from , stroke or multiple sclerosis. "Microelectrodes embedded chronically in the brain could hold promise for using to restore motor function in individuals who have, suffered from spinal cord injuries," said Dr. Capadona.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
In this experiment, we describe the method for the environmentally-controlled microtensile testing of mechanically-adaptive polymer nanocomposites for ex-vivo characterization. Credit: The Journal of Visualized Experiments.

Furthermore, Capadona and his colleagues' method allows for measurement of mechanical properties using microsize scales. Previous methods typically require large or nano-sized samples of material, and data has to be scaled, which doesn't always work.

When asked why Dr. Capadona and his colleagues published their methods with JoVE, he responded "We choose JoVE because of the novel format to show readers visually what we are doing. If a picture is worth [a] thousand words, a video is worth a million."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New invasive imaging technique to monitor brain function

Jun 26, 2012

A new video article in JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, describes a novel procedure to monitor brain function and aid in functional mapping of patients with diseases such as epilepsy. This procedur ...

Bioinspired material mimics squid beak

Apr 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers led by scientists at Case Western Reserve University have turned to an unlikely model to make medical devices safer and more comfortable—a squid's beak.

Songbirds may give insight to nature vs. nuture

Jun 03, 2013

On June 3rd, JoVE will publish a research technique that allows neural imaging of auditory stimuli in songbirds via MRI. The technique, developed by Dr. Annemie Van der Linden and her laboratory at the University of Antwerp in Bel ...

Recommended for you

Connection found between birth size and brain disorders

11 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers has found what appears to be a clear connection between birth size and weight, and the two brain disorders, autism and schizophrenia. In their paper published in Proceedings of ...

A novel therapy for sepsis?

Sep 16, 2014

A University of Tokyo research group has discovered that pentatraxin 3 (PTX3), a protein that helps the innate immune system target invaders such as bacteria and viruses, can reduce mortality of mice suffering ...

User comments