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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in the US have developed a new type of silicon-based dissolvable electronic implant that can monitor temperature and pressure in the brain. The implant, which simply resorbs harmlessly into the body when no longer required, could be used to monitor patients with traumatic brain injury.
The new soluble electronic sensors are smaller than a grain of rice and are built on extremely thin, naturally biodegradable sheets of silicon. These silicon sheets are designed to work for a few weeks before they dissolve away, completely and harmlessly, in the body’s own fluids.The new sensor technology is capable of monitoring temperature and the pressure of intracranial fluid within the skull with the same level of accuracy as conventional, permanent monitoring devices. This would strongly reduce the risks associated with postoperative monitoring.
“Electronic devices and their biomedical applications are advancing rapidly,” says Rory K. J. Murphy, a neurosurgery resident at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and co-first author of a new study published in the journal Nature. “But a major hurdle has been that implants placed in the body often trigger an immune response, which can be problematic for patients. The benefit of these new devices is that they dissolve over time, so you don’t have something in the body for a long time period, increasing the risk of infection, chronic inflammation and even erosion through the skin or the organ in which it’s placed. Plus, using resorbable devices negates the need for surgery to retrieve them, which further lessens the risk of infection and further complications.”
About 50,000 people die of traumatic brain injuries each year in the United States. When patients with such injuries arrive in the hospital, doctors must be able to accurately measure intracranial pressure in the brain and inside the skull because an increase in pressure can lead to further brain injury—and there is no way to reliably estimate pressure levels from brain scans or clinical features in patients. Such implants could potentially be used to monitor patients with traumatic brain injuries. Furthermore, scientists believe they can build similar absorbable sensors to monitor activity in organ systems in other parts of the body.
“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,” says John A. Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois. “This type of bio-electric medicine has great potential in many areas of clinical care.”
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The global report series on the Markets for Neurological Devices is available for the U.S., 15 countries in Europe, Brazil, Japan, India and China. The full reports provide a comprehensive analysis including procedure numbers, units sold, market value, forecasts, as well as a detailed competitive market shares and analysis of major players’ success strategies in each market and segment.
The U.S neurological devices market report includes cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts, CSF external drainage systems, intracranial pressure monitoring devices, detachable coils, liquid embolics, catheters, guidewires, traditional neurovascular stents and flow diversion stents, spinal cord stimulators, vagus nerve stimulators, sacral nerve stimulators, deep brain stimulators, gastric electric stimulators, neuroendoscopes, stereotactic frames, stereotactic frameless systems, ultrasonic aspirators, aneurysm clips, neurosurgical microscopes and intrathecal pumps.
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