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Neurocybernetics for Patients with Head Injury

Test Bed Vision:

“To develop world first cranial implants with biosensors to measure temperature, pressure and electrical activity in real time to monitor patients during and after cranial surgery”

Cerebral oedema (excess fluid) and intracranial hypertension (pressure within the skull) are among the most fundamental pathophysiological processes occurring in neurologic conditions including: haemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, stroke, cerebral blood flow abnormalities, inadequate oxygen delivery and energy failure.

These conditions cause the brain to swell often resulting in death or significant permanent brain injury. In many cases severe brain swelling can only be treated by decompressive craniectomy: surgery where part of the skull is removed to increase the volume of the intracranial compartment.

In a world first, we are incorporating biosensors into cranial implants that will measure temperature, intracranial pressure and cortical electrical activity after surgery for those patients receiving craniotomies for head trauma, stroke, and epilepsy and brain tumour resection. This will enable real time, advanced monitoring of important physiological parameters for patients in the acute and recovery phase of head injury.

Having the ability to monitor electrical activity of the cortical surface of the brain enables new technology to be developed targeting precise delivery of drugs for advanced seizure control. In addition, real time measurement of electrical activity provides us with the opportunity to design innovative brain-machine interfaces. Such interfaces will drive neuroprosthetic devices improving communication and aiding limb movement and general mobility after brain injury.

This test bed is led by Paulo de Souza from the Data61 Business Unit of CSIRO.