Microengineered neural probes for in vivo recording.
One of the great challenges facing medicine is the repair of the damaged nervous system. Due to the limited capacity of the central (and to a lesser extent the peripheral) nervous systems to regenerate, damage such as spinal cord injury can often result in permanent paralysis. Researchers are attempting to overcome nerve injury by devising methods of sensing neural activity either in the brain or in the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system. This information can act as a control mechanism for either muscle stimulators (e.g. for restoring limb function) or providing function in some other way (such as controlling a cursor on a computer screen). Ideally, sensing devices are implanted into the body, directly accessing the nervous system. Whilst great advancements have been made in implantable neural stimulators, sensing of neural activity has proven to be a more difficult task. This chapter describes how microengineered probes allow construction of neuron-sized neural interfaces for enhanced recording in vivo.
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