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Dissolvable brain sensor a game changer in ER
February 10, 2016, 5:06 pm

A traumatic brain injury, caused by a blow or bump to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain, would require doctors in Emergency Rooms (ER) to monitor pressure both inside and outside of the skull to prevent further injury to the organ.

Though not all blows to the head result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the severity of a TBI could range from mild to severe and could include an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after injury. However, monitors that are currently used to record pressures on the brain are large, unwieldy and use outdated technology.

Now, researchers in the US have developed a wireless brain sensor that can successfully do the job and is ultimately absorbed by the body, thereby eliminating the need for removal surgery. The developers say it could have the potential to save thousands of TBI patients and that similar sensors could be used to monitor organ activity in the rest of the body.

The new device, made of polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and silicone, can transmit pressure, temperature readings and other information accurately, while avoiding negative responses from the body’s immune system.

After successful tests in rats, in which the team demonstrated that the sensors are accurate and fully dissolvable in the rat brains, the researchers now plan to test their sensors in human patients. Because the device can operate continuously for up to three days before being dissolved, it gives doctors the timeframe needed to clinically monitor TBI patients.

The developers say their ultimate strategy is to have a device that can be implanted in the brain, or in other body organs, which is closely connected with that organ and can transmit information wirelessly on the organ’s health, while also providing the safety and convenience of dissolving completely in the body.

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