Soluble Brain Implants Could Reduce Surgery Risks - Dream Health

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Monday 25 January 2016

Soluble Brain Implants Could Reduce Surgery Risks


Soluble Electronic Biomedical Sensor Implants

A group of neurosurgeons and materials scientists have created a new class of electronic biomedical sensor implants which tends to monitor the brain after surgery and thereafter harmlessly dissolve away over a period of time. The soluble electronic sensor seems to be smaller than a grain of rice, built on tremendously thin and naturally biodegradable sheets of silicon which are designed to work for a few weeks prior to dissolving away totally and harmlessly, in the fluids of the body.

This could strongly reduce the risks connected with postoperative monitoring. The team had written in a letter published in Nature that the permanently implanted monitoring hardware presently in use tends to act as a nidus for infection – bacterial form biofilms along percutaneous wires or seed haematogenously with the possibility of migrating within the body and to provoke immune-mediated pathological tissue reactions.

Removing such hardware could be hazardous and could subject the patient to the suffering connected with re-operation as well as expose them to more complications. The latest sensor technology has the ability of monitoring temperature and the pressure of intracranial fluid in the skull with the same accuracy as conventional, permanent monitoring devices.


Device Adapts – Fluid Flow/Motion/pH/Thermal Characteristic

According to the report of Project lead, John A. Rogers has commented that they were able to demonstrate all these key features in animal models with a measurement precision which is just as good as that of conventional devices. At the time of testing, the team experimented the sensor utilising an external wireless transmitter as well as an implanted, though so far only partially soluble, NFC data communication system, in order to ascertain that a complete implanted system would function as it was expected.

The researchers had explained that the devices could be adapted to sense fluid flow, motion, pH or thermal characteristics in setups which are compatible with the body’s abdomen and extremities together with the deep brain signifying that the sensors could meet several needs in clinical medicine.

These implants created by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis together with engineers at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign, could be utilised in monitoring patients with painful brain damages. However, researchers are of the belief that they could develop similar absorbable sensors in monitoring activity in organ systems in the body.

Reduce Risk of Infection/Complications

Co-first author Rory K. J. Murphy, MD and a neurosurgery resident at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis had said that `electronic devices together with their biomedical applications are rapidly advancing.

However, a major hurdle is that implants placed in the body regularly cause an immune response that could cause problem for the patients. The advantage of these new devices is that it tends to dissolve after some time and hence one does not have anything in the body for a long period of time that would be the cause of any infection, chronic inflammation and erosion through the skin or the organ in which it is placed.

Moreover, utilising reabsorb-able devices eliminates the need for surgery to recover them. This further reduces the risk of infection and more complications.Murphy is concerned in monitoring pressure and temperature in the brains of patients suffering from traumatic brain injury.

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