Research Topic

The chronic challenge - in vivo long-term multisite contact to the central nervous system

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Undoubtedly, more than a decade of intense research into Brain-Machine-Interfaces have acquired a tremendous wealth of information on the whereabouts of the ultimate goal: a clinically useful cortical prosthesis. Unfortunately, even today - after huge fiscal efforts - the goal seems to be as far away as it ...

Undoubtedly, more than a decade of intense research into Brain-Machine-Interfaces have acquired a tremendous wealth of information on the whereabouts of the ultimate goal: a clinically useful cortical prosthesis. Unfortunately, even today - after huge fiscal efforts - the goal seems to be as far away as it was, when originally put forward in the 1970s.

But are we really „Lost in Translation“ (Ryu and Shenoy 2009) and have to go back to the drawing boards? Will clinically useful BMIs indeed require new and completely different hardware at least at the front end of the cortical connection? Or did we just take somewhere down the research path a wrong turn ending now in a dead-end? 
At least we have to state, that one of the main challenges towards a clinical BMI is not sufficiently answered yet: the long term or even truly chronic stability of the neural cortical interfaces. As the state of the art appears right now, neither silicon- nor wire-arrays are capable of providing reliable and stable recordings from the same subject over a long period of time. And even most sophisticated surface modifications of these work-horses of multisite neuronal research were not able to change that up till now.
On the other hand multisite recordings done with ultra-fine microwires did provide stable recordings for up to seven years in monkey - a substantial part of the life span of the non-human primate (Krüger, Caruana et al. 2010).

To counteract this discrepancy and perhaps set a new starting point in this crucial challenge, we encourage interested research groups to present their work in this Research Topic of Frontiers in Neuroengineering. We particularly welcome reports in unusual and out-of-the-box ideas and studies, standardisation proposals, referrals back to experiments lost or completely new approaches. But of course any type of research bringing us closer to a truly chronic interface to the central nervous system is very welcome!

But are we really „Lost in Translation“ (Ryu and Shenoy 2009) and have to go back to the drawing boards? Will clinically useful BMIs indeed require new and completely different hardware at least at the front end of the cortical connection? Or did we just take somewhere down the research path a wrong turn ending now in a dead-end? 
At least we have to state, that one of the main challenges towards a clinical BMI is not sufficiently answered yet: the long term or even truly chronic stability of the neural cortical interfaces. As the state of the art appears right now, neither silicon- nor wire-arrays are capable of providing reliable and stable recordings from the same subject over a long period of time. And even most sophisticated surface modifications of these work-horses of multisite neuronal research were not able to change that up till now.
On the other hand multisite recordings done with ultra-fine microwires did provide stable recordings for up to seven years in monkey - a substantial part of the life span of the non-human primate (Krüger, Caruana et al. 2010).

To counteract this discrepancy and perhaps set a new starting point in this crucial challenge, we welcome interested research groups to present their work in this Research Topic of Frontiers in Neuroengineering. We particularly welcome reports in unusual and out-of-the-box ideas and studies, standardisation proposals, referrals back to experiments lost or completely new approaches. But of course any type of research bringing us closer to a truly chronic interface to the central nervous system is very welcome!


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