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Pressure measurement of geometrically curved ultrasound transducer array for spatially specific stimulation of the vagus nerve

: Kawasaki, S.; Giagka, V.; Haas, M. de; Louwerse, M.; Henneken, V.; Heesch, C. van; Dekker, R.


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-; IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society -EMBS-:
9th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER 2019 : 20-23 March 2019, San Francisco, California
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5386-7921-0
ISBN: 978-1-5386-7922-7
International Conference on Neural Engineering (NER) <9, 2019, San Francisco/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IZM ()

Vagus nerve stimulators currently on the market can treat epilepsy and depression. Recent clinical trials show the potential for vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to treat epilepsy, autoimmune disease, and traumatic brain injury. As we explore the benefits of VNS, it is expected that more possibilities for a new treatment will emerge in the future. However, existing VNS relies on electrical stimulation, whose limited selectivity (due to its poor spatial resolution) does not allow for any control over which therapeutic effect to induce. We hypothesize that by localizing the stimulation to fascicular level within the vagus nerve with focused ultrasound (US), it is possible to induce selective therapeutic effects with less side effects. A geometrically curve US transducer array that is small enough to wrap around the vagus nerve was fabricated. An experiment was conducted in water, with 48 US elements curved in a 1 mm radius and excited at 15 MHz to test the focusing capabilities of the device. The results show that the geometrical curvature focused the US to an area with a width and height of 110 μm and 550 μm. This will be equivalent to only 2.1% of the cross section of the vagus nerve, showing the potential of focused US to stimulate individual neuronal fibers within the vagus nerve selectively.