OCT 14, 2018 08:22 PM PDT

First Bio-electronic Medical Device

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a study published in Nature Medicine, researchers at Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine have create the first bioelectronics medical device: “an implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves the healing of a damaged nerve”.

The research team consisted of materials scientists and engineers at Northwestern and neurosurgeons at Washington University who together collaborated for the development of a device that can deliver regular electrical pulses to damaged peripheral nerves. The device was used in rats after a surgical repair process which accelerated the regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhanced the ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control.

This type of technology has started life in bioelectronic medicine where researchers can envision transient engineered technologies that may someday complement or replace pharmaceutical treatments for a broad range of medical conditions. "These engineered systems provide active, therapeutic function in a programmable, dosed format and then naturally disappear into the body, without a trace," explains John A. Rogers, a pioneer in bio-integrated technologies and a co-senior author of the study. "This approach to therapy allows one to think about options that go beyond drugs and chemistry. We are excited because we now have the pieces -- the materials, the devices, the fabrication approaches, the system-level engineering concepts -- to exploit these concepts in ways that could have relevance to grand challenges in human health."

"The wireless device naturally absorbs into the body after a week or two." Credit: Northwestern University via Science Daily

The device has not been tested in humans, however, the research findings bring renowned hope for future therapeutic options in nerve injury. "We know that electrical stimulation during surgery helps, but once the surgery is over, the window for intervening is closed," explains Dr. Wilson "Zack" Ray, co-senior author of the study and Washington University associate professor of neurosurgery, biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery. "With this device, we've shown that electrical stimulation given on a scheduled basis can further enhance nerve recovery."

Source: Northwestern University

 

 

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
AUG 20, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 20, 2018
Martian Dust Storm Begins Clearing, Sparking Hope for the Opportunity Rover
Back in June, Mars became enveloped by a planet-wide dust storm. The dust from the storm blocked so much sunlight that NASA felt compelled to put its solar...
SEP 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 19, 2018
RemoveDebris Spacecraft Successfully Nets a Piece of Space Junk
Experts approximate that there’s around 7.5 metric tons’ worth of space junk swirling around our planet. Most of this junk is comprised of dead...
OCT 05, 2018
Earth & The Environment
OCT 05, 2018
Visualizing your home's air quality
Air quality is largely invisible. But what if you could see it? I’m not talking about air pollution that’s so bad that the whole city is covere...
OCT 08, 2018
Neuroscience
OCT 08, 2018
Esports Curriculum to Study the Brain and Gaming
In the field of neuroscience, there is a lot of research on the effects video games have on the brain. Video game addiction has been declared a medical dis...
OCT 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 17, 2018
Should We Build a Space Elevator?
Rockets are the primary means of sending cargo to and from space, but chemical burns are incredibly expensive, and this has some firms looking into alterna...
NOV 02, 2018
Technology
NOV 02, 2018
Wearable Heating Technology
Individuals experiencing stiff and aching joints often feel nothing better than a little heat pressed on their pain. Such heat is often via rigid heating p...
Loading Comments...