Lightweight probe positioning system for primate brain research

Ultrasound-Based Brain Scanning

Functional ultrasound image of a rhesus monkey’s brain using a 6 MHz probe (adapted from [1])

Iconeus is a Paris-based manufacturer of hardware and software for acquiring brain scans using the technique of functional ultrasound. This method uses multi-plane-wave pulses of ultrasound from specialized probes to provide information on blood flows and hence on brain activity. These probes need to be accurately positioned during the scanning process, in order to optimize the field of view (and resolution) of the final 2D or 3D brain image.

Much of the work carried out using Iconeus’ equipment involves head-fixed studies on rodents, but as part of a mission to accelerate the development of clinical applications in humans, there is now increasing interest in using the equipment with primates. However, this requires a lighter probe positioning system than the four-axis motorized scanning platform that the company currently offers. With a weight of just 26 g, the SLC-1740 is far less cumbersome than the existing head-fixed platform, providing greater comfort for the subjects, while retaining the single axis of movement that is needed to accurately position the probe. As a result, Iconeus plan to employ it as the standard probe positioning system for all of their instruments sold for use with primates.

[1] Functional ultrasound imaging of the brain reveals propagation of task-related brain activity in behaving primates. Dizeux A, Gesnik M, Ahnine H, Blaize K, Arcizet F, Picaud S, Sahel JA, Deffieux T, Pouget P, Tanter M. Nat Commun, 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09349-w

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