- Van Paesschen W. Lancet Neurol. 2018. The future of seizure detection.
Clinical practice relies on seizure diaries of patients to manage epilepsy, but less than half of all patients can accurately document their seizures. The development of algorithms that automatically detect seizure-related EEG changes and increases in heart rate can help to detect seizures in real-time and to generate an alarm signal for family members, caregivers, or health professionals. Smartphone-based wearable devices to measure several biosignals simultaneously, including EEG, will probably be available within the next 5 years.
Mora Lopez et al. ISSCC 2018 on Feb 14, 2018 in session 29: Advanced Biomedical Systems at 2.30 pm: 29.3 – A 16384-Electrode 1024-Channel Multimodal CMOS MEA for High-Throughput Intracellular Action Potential Measurements and Impedance Spectroscopy in Drug-Screening Applications.
Researchers at imec have designed and fabricated a 16,384-electrode, 1,024-channel micro-electrode array (MEA) for high-throughput multi-modal cell interfacing. The chip offers intracellular and extracellular recording, voltage- and current-controlled stimulation, impedance monitoring and spectroscopy functionalities thereby packing the most cell-interfacing modalities on a single chip, and being the only one to enable multi-well assays. With this new chip, imec has created a platform that enables high quality data acquisition at increased throughput in cell-based cell studies.
- Davie et al. posted on biorxiv on 21 Dec 2017. A single-cell catalogue of regulatory states in the ageing Drosophila brain.
Scientists at the ‘VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research’ mapped a single-cell transcriptome catalogue of the entire adult fly brain sampled across its lifespan. These findings show an extensive heterogeneity in gene regulation that is linked to ageing and specific brain functions. Such insights generated from fly brain will serve as a reference for future studies of genetic variation and disease mutations.
Gu et al. Sensors 2017. Comparison between scalp EEG and behind-the-ear EEG for development of a wearable seizure detection system for patients with focal epilepsy.
KU Leuven and UZ Leuven scientists and clinicians aim to develop a wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) device that is small and unobtrusive enough to be used in daily life. They recorded epileptic EEG from behind the ear and found that it was a feasible approach to detect seizures in patients with focal epilepsy. Tools based on this technology provide valuable information for disease monitoring and management.
Espuny Camacho et al. Neuron 2017. Hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease in Stem-Cell-Derived Human Neurons Transplanted into Mouse Brain.
Researchers from the lab of professor Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven) successfully transplanted human neural cells into mouse brains containing amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike mouse neurons, human neurons that developed in this environment were extremely susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.
Guo et al. Nature Communications 2017. HDAC6 inhibition reverses axonal transport defects in motor neurons derived from FUS-ALS patients.
The teams led by professor Ludo Van Den Bosch (VIB/KU Leuven) and Catherine Verfaillie (KU Leuven) used stem cell technology to generate motor neurons from ALS patients carrying mutations in FUS. They found disturbed axonal transport in these motor neurons, but also identified genetic and pharmacological strategies that mitigate these defects in cells.
Ju et al. Nature 2017. Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity.
Engineers and scientists at imec, KU Leuven and VIB collaborated with researchers at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus, the Allen Institute, and University College London (with grant funding from Gatsby and Wellcome) to build and test powerful new devices for detecting neural activity within the brains of living animals. The result is a silicon probe called Neuropixels, which can simultaneously record the activity of more than 200 individual neurons.
- Liu et al. Cell 2016. Sleep drive is encoded by neural plastic changes in a dedicated circuit.
This study defines an integrator circuit for sleep homeostasis and provides a mechanism explaining the generation and persistence of sleep drive.
Imec does not only develop multi-electrode probes to probe brain activity, but also probes that can stimulate the activity of brain cells by shining light on them. Such probes can be used for ‘optogenetics’, a technique combining genetics and optics.