02:04pm Friday 06 December 2019

A Brain-Recording Device that Melts into Place

The ultrathin flexible implants, made partly from silk, can record brain activity more faithfully than thicker implants embedded with similar electronics.

“The focus of our study was to make ultrathin arrays that conform to the complex shape of the brain, and limit the amount of tissue damage and inflammation,” said coauthors Brian Litt, MD, associate professor of Neurology and associate professor of Bioengineering in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and PhD student Jonathan Viventi. The silk-based implants, developed by Dr. Litt and colleagues at Tufts University and the University of Illinois, can hug the brain like shrink wrap, collapsing into its grooves and stretching over its rounded surfaces. The study appears this month in Nature Materials.

For more information, refer to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke news release.



Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $3.6 billion enterprise. 

Penn’s School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools, and is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $367.2 million awarded in the 2008 fiscal year. 

Penn Medicine’s patient care facilities include:

Additional patient care facilities and services include Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse, a Philadelphia campus offering inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient care in many specialties; as well as a primary care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care and hospice services; and several multispecialty outpatient facilities across the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2009, Penn Medicine provided $733.5 million to benefit our community.

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