Created flexible fibers conducting impulses to the brain and back

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2017-02-23 15:00:06

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Created flexible fibers conducting impulses to the brain and back

According to the publication Medical Xpress, a large group of researchers, including engineers, chemists and neuroscientists, including many graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT) introduced a flexible fiber of a new type, which is able to convey to the brain, and to take from it optical, chemical and electrical signals. Despite this abundance of functions, the fiber has a thickness less than a human hair.

The elasticity of the fiber will allow you to achieve the best possible integration with brain tissue, and, unlike their metal predecessors, will be able much longer to remain in the living body, not damaged. Using such a fiber, scientists will be able to much better study the structure of different parts of the brain, and to understand the relationship of the divisions among themselves. The fiber is designed to accurately replicate the softness and elasticity of brain tissue. The new fiber lies a composite material consisting of multiple layers of conductive polyethylene and graphite particles. If «packing» each layer he is under quite high pressure. Thus, the material resembles a kind of «layer cake». The use of such technology allows to increase the conductivity of the material 5 times to reduce the electrodes about the same.

pictured is one of the founders of the flexible fiber Shingung Park. In his hands he holds his development, but you can see it is very difficult, because it is thinner than a human hair

Currently, the researchers conducted an experiment on laboratory mice: by means of fibers launched at the animal opsins — genes that make the neurons light-sensitive. After some time through an optical waveguide scientists have been working on neurons with light and observe their activity with the aim of identifying specific reactions. It is worth saying that prior to holding such manipulation was required several separate devices: needles to enter opsins, fiber for "transport" of light, the electrodes for the records that were required to merge into a single system. Thanks to new technology took only invented fiber diameter of 200 micrometers c 6 electrodes to record data.

Through the use of flexible fibers found out that the neurons remain photosensitive after injection of opsins within 11 days. The next goal of the research group is the production of finer fibers to bring its properties to the nervous tissue.

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