Objective: The authors report methods developed for the implantation of micro-wire bundles into mesial temporal lobe structures and subsequent single neuron recording in epileptic patients undergoing in-patient diagnostic monitoring. This is done with the intention of lowering the perceived barriers to routine single neuron recording from deep brain structures in the clinical setting.
Approach: Over a 15 month period, 11 patients were implanted with platinum micro-wire bundles into mesial temporal structures. Protocols were developed for (A) monitoring electrode integrity through impedance testing, (B) ensuring continuous 24-7 recording, (C) localizing micro-wire position and 'splay' pattern and (D) monitoring grounding and referencing to maintain the quality of recordings.
Main results: Five common modes of failure were identified: (1) broken micro-wires from acute tensile force, (2) broken micro-wires from cyclic fatigue at stress points, (3) poor in vivo micro-electrode separation, (4) motion artifact and (5) deteriorating ground connection and subsequent drop in common mode noise rejection. Single neurons have been observed up to 14 days post-implantation and on 40% of micro-wires.
Significance: Long-term success requires detailed review of each implant by both the clinical and research teams to identify failure modes, and appropriate refinement of techniques while moving forward. This approach leads to reliable unit recordings without prolonging operative times, which will help increase the availability and clinical viability of human single neuron data.