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Team develops wireless, dissolvable sensors to monitor brain

Stashed in: Brain, Awesome, Medicine, Internet of Things, TBI

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Here's some IoT I can get behind: wireless implants that measure intracranial pressure in traumatic brain injury patients and then dissolve in the brain after a period of time.

So are these things basically made out of jello?

Not exactly, but close: "polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and silicone"

Super cool devices for monitoring pressure and temperature in the brains of patients with traumatic brain injury:

About 50,000 people die of such injuries annually 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.

“However, the devices commonly used today are based on technology from the 1980s,” Murphy explained. “They’re large, they’re unwieldy, and they have wires that connect to monitors in the intensive care unit. They give accurate readings, and they help, but there are ways to make them better.”

Murphy collaborated with engineers in the laboratory of John A. Rogers, PhD, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois, to build new sensors. The devices are made mainly of polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and silicone, and they can transmit accurate pressure and temperature readings, as well as other information.

“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,” Rogers said. “This type of bio-electric medicine has great potential in many areas of clinical care.”

The researchers tested the sensors in baths of saline solution that caused them to dissolve after a few days. Next, they tested the devices in the brains of laboratory rats.

Having shown that the sensors are accurate and that they dissolve in the solution and in the brains of rats, the researchers now are planning to test the technology in patients.

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