BMBF project

Electronically controlled active implants offer several important therapeutics possibilities. The most important examples are cardiovascular diseases (pacemaker, defibrillator), neurological diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson, depression or chronic pain (neuro modulators such as deep brain stimulation), sensory handicaps (cochlea or retina implant), and systemic diseases such as inflammation and high blood pressure (peripheral nerve stimulation). Innovation of technology, especially the used electronic components, is mandatory in view of the increased demands and complexity.

A long-term success of neuro implants critically depends on their suitability for daily use, and probably more important, on their compatibility with medical diagnostic procedures such as MRI. Statistically, each person will receive at least one MRI exam within his lifetime. Thus, the compatibility of these devices with MRI is mandatory. So far, some implants are “MR safe”, meaning they are safe if used in stand-by mode during an MRI exam. However, these implants still produce huge artifacts and diagnostic imaging close to the implants is not possible. Furthermore, none of the MR-safe implants are operational during an MR exam, i.e. pacemaker or deep brain stimulators have to be switched off and thus stop to release/recieve electrical pulses to the tissue.

The goal of this project is the development of an MR-safe, MR-compatible and MR-co-functioning implant. We chose the Brain-Interchange® implant system, the currently only MR-safe implantable electrode array for the detection or application of electrical signals from the brain cortex surface provided by the company CorTec (BIC, Brain-Interchange System). Further partners in this collaborative project are the Department of Microelectronics at the University of Ulm responsible for the design of the MR compatible power management and company eesy-ic for wireless WBAN communication.

The major interest of our department at the MPI is the potential to record or apply electrical signals to the human brain while, at the same time, recording functional MR signals. For example, this will offer the unique possibility to assess brain regions with BOLD-MRI that are activated during electrical stimulation.

Förderantrag im Rahmen der Richtlinie: ”Neue Elektroniksysteme für intelligente Medizintechnik (Smart Health)”
MR-Implant, approved June 2017
PI: K. Scheffler, M. Schüttler, M. Ortmanns, F. Ohnhäuser
Support total EUR 2.138.880 (own support EUR 410.040)

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