Despite the fact that about 50,000 persons dies due to traumatic brain injuries in USA per year, the equipment that is currently in use for measuring vital stats is decades old. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have come up with a new sensor that is not so invasive and quite safer when compared with the current technology.
The team started work with a crystal clear aim; come up with a sensor that can be placed in the brain, is fully wireless and once its job is completed, it dissolves away without any trace. The device that they have created is made mostly out of silicone and polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and is comparable to the tip of a pencil. The device is able to transmit accurate temperature and pressure data wirelessly and as per researchers, it can be adapted easily for use in other organs of the body.
This new sensor is being considered a big breakthrough when we look at the current devices that require physical connections to the monitors. The ability of this new sensor to dissolve takes away the risk of the patient reacting to foreign item in body via infection or chronic inflammation. Two phases of testing are already over; one used the new sensor in baths of saline solution and the other saw implantation of the sensor in the brains of laboratory rats. The experiments had positive results and the team is looking forward to carrying out tests of this sensor in human patients.
John A. Rogers from University of Illinois said, “With advanced materials and device designs, we demonstrated that it is possible to create electronic implants that offer high performance and clinically relevant operation in hardware that completely resorbs into the body after the relevant functions are no longer needed. This type of bio-electric medicine has great potential in many areas of clinical care.”
The findings of the team have been published in the journal Nature.