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B3: Improving microelectrodes for single cell recordings in the human brain

Stefan HefftG, Dominik von ElverfeldtY, Irina MaderY, Andreas Schulze-BonhageI, Rudi MattmüllerZ

G = Institute of Physiology I
Y = University Clinics Freiburg
I = Epilepsy Centre, University Medical Center
Z = Inomed

Scientific background

Important insights into single cell activity during cognitive tasks in humans were achieved through recordings from single cells in humans. However its use is hampered by numerous important technical problems: fixation of electrodes, MR-compatiblity of connectors, visualization of the individual electrode tips in MR, attribution of spread microwires to a given recording channel, and the cell type specificity of the signals.

The University of Freiburg is one of the leading German centers for intracerebral recordings in epileptic patients. Until now we implanted four patients with microwires and performed our first recordings of single unit spikes in the human hippocampus.
With the department of Diagnostic Radiology and Medical Physics the University Hospital Freiburg (www.uniklinik-freibur.de/mr) hosts the well known MRI research group of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hennig. It employes over 55 scientists being mainly physicists, chemists and computer scientists, and has currently 4 MRI Systems solely for research at its disposal (2 x 3T TimTRIO, 1x 1.5T Sonata both Siemens and a 9.4T Bruker animal system).


We will develop MR-compatible microelectrodes suitable for recordings of single neurons in humans and make individual microwires visible on MR.

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