These Bioelectronic Medical Devices Can Heal Your Body Then Vanish, No Harm Caused

Author - Oct 12, 2018

These Bioelectronic Medical Devices Can Heal Your Body Then Vanish, No Harm Caused

Electronic Medical devices for nerve treatment and they disappear without a trace.

These Bioelectronic Medical Devices Disappear After Healing Damaged Nerves

Thanks to two research teams, damaged nerves can now be treated with biodegradable device.

Biological engineers now provides a new method to fix nerve damages with their invention, a new type of bioelectronic 'medicine.' The recently created device is implantable, biodegradable and wireless, it can also heal some injuries that are the most difficult to handle in a shorter time.

In carrying out this project, two team joined hands. The first are Northwestern material scientists and engineers, and the second are neurosurgeons from Washington University.

They worked together and succeeded in creating a device with the size of a dime coin that is super thin and wireless. After the surgery, the device brings electric pulses to the damaged nerves. It will absorb into the body naturally after a fortnight.

The study was published on Nature Medicine journal in its recent edition.

Creating a special electronic device 

The outstanding feature of this device that it can treat the influenced area directly and at the same time decrease the consequences compared with permanent implants.

John A. Rogers, a pioneer in bio-integrated technologies, a co-senior author of the study and a member from the Northwestern stated that these systems come with active and healing function in which have programmable, dosed format. He also mentioned the device’s ability to disappear naturally into the body, leaving no traces.

Roger has worked with his team for eight years focusing on electronics, and biodegradable in particular. When Washington University’s neurosurgeons contacted them, Roger knew there would be an innovative solution.

Wilson "Zack" Ray, co-senior author, associate professor at Washington University, said he was aware that electrical stimulation in surgery helped, but when the surgery is done, intervention is impossible. He also pointed out that use electricity in stimulating on a scheduled basis can assist further in nerve recovery.

A device which can wrap around damaged nerve groups was created by the team form the Northwestern. The team explained that this device is powered by a remote transmitter which is similar to cellphone-charging.

The other team was responsible for conducting lab test on the devices. In this test, rats whose nerves (the ones that send signals up and down the legs) are injured are stimulated with electricity once hour every day. This lasted 10 weeks and the rats were sorted into different level of treatment.

It was discovered that the longer the rats got electric stimulation, the faster their nerves and muscle recovered. Also, no side effects were found after the device absorbed into the rats.

Ray spoke that before conducting the study, they were not sure whether or not longer stimulation would be different, but now, they can begin to work on finding the perfect time for maximizing recovery.

A future for medical electronic devices 

As this device is such a success, the teams are now thinking about applying this research in other fields. Next, they want to make the signal to the device stronger and extend the time of operation before the device degrades.

Roger said they the devices were made to disappear. The group has paid attention to the topic of electronic devices for almost a decade and now they have what they need to take it to the next level.

The research are optimistic about making the device a replacement for several medical conditions in humans. Owing to the device’s success, this may become a temporary pacer or a spinal cord interface.


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