Mount Sinai Is First in New York to Test Revolutionary Brain-Computer Implant Designed to Map Brain Activity in Unprecedented Detail

New York, NY, March 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons and neuroscientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are the first in New York to study a new brain-computer interface that’s engineered to map a large area of the brain’s surface, in real time, at resolutions hundreds of times more detailed than typical arrays used in neurosurgical procedures.

A brain-computer interface (BCI) is a system that deciphers brain signals and translates them into commands for external technologies. The ultimate goal of a BCI is to restore function to patients with debilitating neurological conditions by enabling them to operate digital devices using only their thoughts.

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The Layer 7 Cortical Interface, developed by Precision Neuroscience Corporation, contains 1,024 tiny electrodes spanning an area of 1.5 square centimeter, embedded in a flexible film that conforms to the brain’s surface. The film is one-fifth the thickness of a human hair and was designed to be implanted and removed by neurosurgeons without damaging brain tissue.

“Mount Sinai has established an international reputation for our ability to conduct the most advanced biomedical and scientific research, for our commitment to exceptional patient care, and for our entrepreneurial approach to generating new treatments and advancements in care,” said Joshua B. Bederson, MD, Chair of Neurosurgery at the Mount Sinai Health System and Co-Founder of Mount Sinai BioDesign. “This culture of excellence, innovation, and collaboration attracts some of the brightest and best clinicians and researchers in the world who are capable of rapidly translating research breakthroughs into new products and services that provide meaningful benefit to patients and our society. We are proud to be one of the leading sites participating in the trials for the new array and eager to see what we learn from the detailed information we will collect and analyze.”

As part of an open-label, single-arm feasibility study, Mount Sinai neurosurgeons are temporarily placing the investigational device on the surface of the study participants’ brains during intracranial procedures where surface mapping is routinely performed and correlated to evoked potentials (tests that measure the brain’s response to sensory stimulation) or standardized behavioral tasks that are routinely performed as part of these procedures. The device records high-resolution electrophysiological signals and the data collected is compared to that obtained using standard-of-care cortical surface arrays.

A team of Mount Sinai neuroscientists who have deep expertise in human electrophysiology will analyze and interpret the massive amount of data collected from the device. A secondary objective of the study is to assess the ability of the thin-film electrode to map electrophysiological correlates of awake behavioral tasks, including motor, speech, and cognitive tasks.

“Despite the vast complexity of activity across the human brain, standard monitoring tools can only capture a tiny fraction of the data we need—from a small handful of areas, or at very slow temporal resolution. This low-resolution data significantly limits our understanding of brain function and brain disorders,” says Ignacio Saez, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, and Neurosurgery, Director of the Human Neurophysiology Laboratory, and Principal Investigator of the trial at Icahn Mount Sinai. “The new device is exciting because it provides us with an extremely detailed depiction of electrical activity in the brain, capturing thousands of data points per second from a thousand brain sites in each participant. By monitoring neuronal activity at this unprecedented resolution, our interdisciplinary team at Mount Sinai hopes to gain important insights into how brain function supports behavior and is affected by disease states. Our ultimate goal is to obtain actionable knowledge that will open the door to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders and improve quality of life for our patients.”

Precision Neuroscience was co-founded by Benjamin Rapoport, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Icahn Mount Sinai, a practicing neurosurgeon who has a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science. Dr. Rapoport also serves as the Scientific Director of Mount Sinai BioDesign, a medical technology prototyping center and incubator housed within the Mount Sinai Health System.

Dr. Rapoport is an equity owner in Precision Neuroscience and serves as their Chief Scientific Officer and a member of their board of directors. As a faculty member in the Department of Neurosurgery, he reports to Dr. Bederson. Neither Dr. Bederson nor Mount Sinai have a financial interest in Precision Neuroscience. All Precision Neuroscience research at Mount Sinai is conducted by independent investigators without financial ties to the company.

About the Mount Sinai Health System
Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time—discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it. Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,400 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report‘s® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2023-2024.

About Mount Sinai BioDesign
Mount Sinai BioDesign is the medical technology prototyping center and incubator housed within the Mount Sinai Health System. The team comprises a unique blend of entrepreneurs, engineers, clinicians, trialists, and project managers with a mission to improve clinical care through the invention, development, and commercialization of new medical technologies. Sinai BioDesign works with internal and external partners, assisting Mount Sinai faculty to develop and launch new technologies, and assisting external industry partners in the optimization and validation of existing technologies. The team has core competencies around rapid iterative prototype development, benchtop testing within bespoke anatomical models, preclinical testing, and the design and operation of early-stage clinical trials. Sinai BioDesign has numerous patent applications, has launched several funded startups, and has existing partnerships with major surgical technology corporations. Originating from the Department of Neurosurgery and led by Dr. Joshua Bederson, the team has a deep portfolio of neurotechnology innovations and partnerships.

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