KIT scientist develops injectable brain stimulators on a nanoscale in an international team

For neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has enabled breakthroughs in treatment. An electrode is implanted deep in the brain, which enables microelectronics located under the skin to send electrical signals to the location of the electrode. These interrupt the neurological “interference” that triggers the disease.

Up to now, however, the insertion of the electrodes has required a surgical procedure, which carries the risk of bleeding and infection. An international team, including a scientist from KIT, has now developed a method in which particulate electrodes on the nanoscale are injected and controlled wirelessly. The results are published in Science Advances .

Changing brain activity with remote-controlled nanoelectrodes

The nanoelectrodes are made of a material that converts magnetic signals into electrical signals. These can communicate with the brain and change its activities. The electrodes are controlled without contact by applying a magnetic field. “We were able to show that brain activity changes similarly to normal DBS,” says first author Kristen L. Kozielski from the Institute for Functional Interfaces at KIT.

The experiment with mice showed that stimulation by the nanoelectrodes could influence the behavior of the animals. “In our future work we hope to be able to use these nanoelectrodes specifically to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or to treat spinal cord injuries.”

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