In a study published in Nature-Communications, the MIT team said they developed a nano-conductive polymer that could be used as a 3D-printed hydrogel that could be used as a brain implant to alleviate brain disease,media reported. We all know that the brain is one of our most vulnerable organs, as soft as tofu.
In addition, brain implants are usually made of metals and other rigid materials that over time can cause inflammation and scarring.
Hydrogel electrodes, on the other hand, are more sensitive to ion signals than conventional metal electrodes, and their soft mechanical properties gently conform to the contours of the brain and monitor brain activity for a longer period of time without damaging surrounding tissue.
The researchers used 3D to print hydrogel electrodes about 10 microns wide and implant them into the brains of mice, successfully receiving electrical signals from individual neurons.
Monitoring this activity can provide scientists with high-resolution images of brain activity and help tailor treatment options for various neurological disorders.
The hydrogel is believed to be used to stimulate brain implants in nerve regions to relieve symptoms of epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and severe depression.
“We wanted to demonstrate that people could use this technology quickly to make different devices,” said study member Hyunwoo Yuk. “