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Suitability of nitinol electrodes in neural prostheses such as endovascular neural interfaces.

ABSTRACT

A major challenge facing neural prostheses is the development of electrodes that are well tolerated by the brain and body. A novel way to circumvent the need to perform an invasive craniotomy and penetration of the blood-brain barrier to implant electrodes, is to guide electrodes up into the cerebral veins and place electrodes on the vessel walls adjacent to neuronal populations. To aid in the development of these stent based devices, microelectrodes manufactured from Nitinol would allow electrodes to be implanted via a catheter and then once deployed, alter their shape to conform to the vessel walls. However, there is a paucity of data on whether Nitinol is a suitable material to record neural signals. Here we show that Nitinol is tolerated by the body and that it can effectively measure neural signals. Specifically, we electrochemically evaluate Nitinol electrodes in blood and record visually evoked potentials from sheep.