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Implantable Gel Sensor Tracks Brain Health

Brain Health
  • Researchers at HUST developed a biodegradable wireless brain sensor the size of a sesame seed, capable of monitoring vital health indicators like temperature and intracranial pressure.
  • The sensor, tested successfully on rodents and pigs, outperformed traditional wired sensors in detecting subtle brain changes, potentially revolutionizing medical monitoring post-head trauma or cancer treatment.

Researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) located in Wuhan, China, have created a revolutionary biodegradable wireless sensor to track the health of the brain following head traumas or treatment for cancer (via South China Morning Post).

The device is an easier alternative for wired sensors that are more conventional that could transform the way that medical patients receive care.

Impressive Brain Sensor the Size of a Sesame Seed

The study was published in The journal Nature on the 5th of June The study outlines the ability of this sensor to detect vital health indicators like temperature and the intracranial pressure, pH and flow of blood.

With a size of just 2 millimeters both sides, which is roughly as big as the seed of sesame. This small sensor functions via an external ultrasound probe which eliminates the need for extensive procedures for implanting or removing.

Biomedical engineer and co-author on the research, Yueying Yang, emphasized the possible impact of this new technology. The sensor’s wireless construction and biodegradability solve the major issues that are associated with wired sensors. They may lead to infections that require surgery to remove.

How the Sensor Did in Clinical Tests

In order to assess their effectiveness and biocompatibility team evaluated the sensors using rodents and pigs. They were implanted five millimeters under their skulls in rats the sensors detected the changes in intracranial pressure as well as temperature. They functioned better or superior to conventional wired sensors.

In this case, for instance the sensor in gel detected changes in pressure that occurred inside the brains of rats by pressing their belly. It also reliably recorded temperatures when heated or ice packs are applied on the head of the rats.

In animals, the sensors proved their sensitiveness by detecting tiny variations in pressure caused by breathing of the animal, a feat the wired probes of previous generations failed to accomplish. The results suggest the gel sensor’s higher precision, and the potential for more extensive clinical use.

Sensor’s function is derived from the hydrogel component. The hydrogel material, which is commonly utilized in tissues regeneration and delivery of drugs is flexible and soft which makes it perfect for implants in the brain.

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