NYMC Faculty Publications


Epidermal Electrode Technology for Detecting Ultrasonic Perturbation of Sensory Brain Activity

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June 2018




OBJECTIVE: We aim to demonstrate the in vivo capability of a wearable sensor technology to detect localized perturbations of sensory-evoked brain activity. METHODS: Cortical somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) were recorded in mice via wearable, flexible epidermal electrode arrays. We then utilized the sensors to explore the effects of transcranial focused ultrasound, which noninvasively induced neural perturbation. SSEPs recorded with flexible epidermal sensors were quantified and benchmarked against those recorded with invasive epidural electrodes. RESULTS: We found that cortical SSEPs recorded by flexible epidermal sensors were stimulus frequency dependent. Immediately following controlled, focal ultrasound perturbation, the sensors detected significant SSEP modulation, which consisted of dynamic amplitude decreases and altered stimulus-frequency dependence. These modifications were also dependent on the ultrasound perturbation dosage. The effects were consistent with those recorded with invasive electrodes, albeit with roughly one order of magnitude lower signal-to-noise ratio. CONCLUSION: We found that flexible epidermal sensors reported multiple SSEP parameters that were sensitive to focused ultrasound. This work therefore 1) establishes that epidermal electrodes are appropriate for monitoring the integrity of major CNS functionalities through SSEP; and 2) leveraged this technology to explore ultrasound-induced neuromodulation. The sensor technology is well suited for this application because the sensor electrical properties are uninfluenced by direct exposure to ultrasound irradiation. SIGNIFICANCE: The sensors and experimental paradigm we present involve standard, safe clinical neurological assessment methods and are thus applicable to a wide range of future translational studies in humans with any manner of health condition.