Scientists at Tokyo Tech have developed flexible thin-film electrodes that can be placed directly on brain tissue to diagnose and treat epilepsy. These electrodes have a design that accurately matches the mechanical properties of brain tissue, improving their performance in recording brain activity and stimulating neural activity. This is in contrast to traditional electrodes used in electroencephalography (EEG), which are placed on the scalp and provide less accurate recordings due to signal attenuation. Electrocorticography (ECoG) electrodes, which are placed directly on the brain surface, provide better recordings and can be used to stimulate specific groups of neurons to manage epileptic seizures. However, conventional ECoG electrodes do not match the mechanical properties of brain tissue, causing adverse effects. The researchers at Tokyo Tech have addressed this issue by developing flexible neural electrodes made of a thin film that accurately conforms to the shape of brain tissue. They used an inkjet printer to fabricate conductive wiring on the electrode, making it suitable for practical applications. The team demonstrated the effectiveness of the electrodes by conducting experiments on epilepsy rat models, accurately measuring neural response and visualizing seizure activity. The electrodes did not cause any adverse effects or inflammation in the rats’ brains, highlighting their compatibility with biological tissue. The researchers plan to further improve the design to make it suitable for clinical applications and improve diagnostics and therapeutic strategies for epilepsy management.

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