A new implant could give doctors "a window to the brain" of a patient. The translucent "window to the brain" implant lets doctors use emerging laser treatments against strokes and cancer without having to remove the patient's skull, making recurring treatments easier to perform.

Created by a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the implant was reported in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.

"This is a case of a science fiction sounding idea becoming science fact, with strong potential for positive impact on patients," said Guillermo Aguilar, professor of mechanical engineering at the university. "This is a crucial first step towards an innovative new concept that would provide a clinically-viable means for optically accessing the brain, on-demand, over large areas, and on a chronically-recurring basis."

The scientists converted yttria-stabilized zirconia, a material used in ceramic hip implants, to make it transparent. It can replace a small part of the skull, letting doctors to operate using lasers that would go into the patient's brain.

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