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Wearable Device for Neonatal Brain Imaging by Photoacoustic Tomography

ID# 2019-4902
Transcranial brain imaging with IR light

Technology Summary

Despite the indisputable value of existing brain-imaging techniques, newborn brains are specifically vulnerable to a wide range of injuries that are challenging to diagnose. For example, in newborns with hypoxic-ischemic neonatal encephalopathy, total oxygenated blood flow may be normal; however, regional variations in oxygenation can cause localized tissue damage. This technology is a device that can be placed onto the head of a newborn – like a helmet. The imaging modality is photoacoustic tomography, which uses non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation to non-invasively image the brain with high contrast and spatial resolution. The device utilizes a “modular disc” approach, in which multiple discs – each comprising several optical fibers and ultrasound transducers – are incorporated into the “helmet” and can be independently rotated to form a tomographic image of the local brain region.

Application & Market Utility

Photoacoustic imaging is a hybrid imaging modality that uses optical excitation and ultrasound detection to provide functional and molecular contrast of deep tissue with high spatial resolution. This modality is particularly well suited for this application, as it is non-invasive, does not require the use of exogenous contrast agents, and can provide information about specific regions of the small neonatal brain. Furthermore, the researchers have incorporated micromachined ultrasound transducers into the design, making the device more compact and appropriate for a newborn.

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