Non-invasive brain probe

A team of researchers in the US has completed the first successful demonstration of a non-invasive optical device to monitor cerebral blood flow in patients who have had an acute stroke.


A University of Pennsylvania team has completed the first successful demonstration of a non-invasive optical device to monitor cerebral blood flow in patients who have suffered an acute stroke.



The ultimate goal of this research is to improve the management of patients with stroke and other brain disorders by providing continuous bedside monitoring of brain blood flow and metabolism.



‘Our preliminary study demonstrates that blood-flow changes can be reliably detected from stroke patients and also suggests that blood-flow responses vary significantly from patient to patient,’ said lead author Turgut Durduran.



Strokes account for nearly 10 per cent of deaths in the western hemisphere and about 5 per cent of healthcare costs. In the US alone, the projected cost of stroke care is estimated at trillions of dollars during the next 50 years.



The device being developed uses embedded optical probes that are placed over major cortical blood vessels in each hemisphere of the brain.



The technology – diffuse correlation spectroscopy – is a non-invasive system that uses lasers, photon-counting detectors, radio-frequency electronics, data processors and a computer monitor to display images of functional information to physicians and nurses.



‘What we have demonstrated is a working prototype of a non-invasive brain probe that uses diffusing light to detect physiological changes such as blood flow, blood-oxygen saturation and haemoglobin concentration to inform clinicians about their treatments,’ said Arjun Yodh, professor of physics at the university and principal investigator of the study.