'Brain window' implant devised

Brain window The transparent "brain window"

Related Stories

A "window to the brain" implant which would allow doctors to see through the skull and possibly treat patients has been devised by US researchers.

It uses a see-through version of the same material used for hip implants.

The team at University of California, Riverside, say it could allow lasers to be fired into the brain to treat neurological disorders.

The implant was reported in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.

The researchers say emerging laser-treatments in stroke and cancer care and brain imaging require access to the brain.

However, they are limited as a part of the skull needs to be removed and replaced each time a treatment is performed.

Instead the team of scientists have devised a transparent implant that would replace a small section of the skull.

They have converted a material - yttria-stabilized zirconia that is used in some ceramic hip implants and dental crowns - to make it transparent.

They argue the material would be safe to implant, but would also provide a window onto the brain.

Professor of mechanical engineering, Guillermo Aguilar, said: "This is a case of a science fiction sounding idea becoming science fact, with strong potential for positive impact on patients.

"This is a crucial first step towards an innovative new concept that would provide a clinically-viable means for optically accessing the brain, on-demand, over large areas, and on a chronically-recurring basis."

Prof John Duncan, a brain expert a University College London, said: "Access to the brain for minimally invasive surgery would be a major step forward.

"This research appears to provide a very encouraging step in this direction."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of


  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news


  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support


  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships


BBC Future

(SPL)

How to learn while you sleep

Enhance memory with your eyes shut Read more...

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.