Cap-Based Transcranial Optical Tomography


Much is known about the brain’s functional networks through analysis of the Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) signal and this knowledge has led to a better understanding of many adult neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and new treatments on the horizon. Although some preliminary work has been done to similarly understand resting state networks in children, studies are hampered by the need to sedate children. The long-term effects of this sedation on cognitive development is unknown and the need for sedation makes it impossible to obtain information on brain networks in awake children. Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) offers a similar window to the hemoglobin-deoxyhemoglobin at the cortical surface.


Technology Overview

An interdisciplinary team of investigators at UTHealth have created a cap-based device, CTOT (pronounced see-tot), that uses fiber optic delivery of different wavelengths of modulated or continuous wave infrared light to provide data to reconstruct an image of the whole brain. The resultant image is comparable to functional brain MRI, making this a wearable device for continuous monitoring of pediatric patients. There are several non-invasive brain imaging modalities available for examining awake adult brain network dysfunction.  For example PET and CT, however, the patient needs to remain supine and still in order to prevent motion artifacts. All of these imaging modalities are impractical in un-sedated young children. This poses a hurdle for pediatric patients with neurological disorders who require continuous brain imaging while they are awake to allow the researcher or clinician to investigate what part of the brain is not functioning correctly. To date, no other laboratory has been able to visualize the entire human brain with infrared light, and have been limited to 1cm of the brain surface only. This novel cap uses a different detector technology enabling trans illumination, fast measurements as well reconstruction of the entire brain allowing clinicians to capture the necessary images without sedation. The CTOT device can potentially image exogenous fluorescent contrast as well, opening the window for non-invasive intracranial arteriography/venography without ionizing radiation from x-rays.


Potential Applications

•       Predict and precisely quantify the severity of disorders that affect childhood brain development such as:

o       Cerebral palsy

o       Epilepsy

o       Intracranial Vascular Malformations


Technology Advantages

•       Measurement time is minutes, potentially seconds, eliminating the need for infants and small children to undergo general anesthesia or sedation

•       Orders of magnitude less expensive than MRI and Angio suites


Patent Information:

The preceding is intended to be a non-confidential and limited description of a novel technology created at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). This promotional material is not comprehensive in scope and should not replace company’s diligence in a thorough evaluation of the technology. Please contact the Office of Technology Management for more information regarding this technology.
Medical Devices
For Information, Contact:
Yaya Lai
Technology License Associate
University of Texas Health Science Center At Houston
Manish N Shah
Banghe Zhu
Eva Sevick
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