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Researchers testing dissolvable implant to monitor brain function

Patients with a brain injury often face a lengthy healing period. When the patient has to have surgery or is experiencing an increase in pressure on the brain, the monitoring process can be difficult. Researchers are working on new technology that could vastly improve the method used to monitor patients who have a brain injury. The improvements could also make the monitoring process less risky.

Researchers recently completed a round of testing on rats to determine if a new device is accurate. The device is a tiny sensor that is dissolvable, which means patients won't have to undergo a surgery to remove the device. It is able to transmit information about the brain wirelessly, which cuts out the need for bulky wires.

As it stands now, patients with a brain injury are often monitored using several devices. These devices include wires and cables that can limit the mobility of the patients. They can also introduce bacteria into the area, which can lead to an infection. On top of all of that, the monitors currently used must be surgically removed when the need for monitoring has passed.

There is still a lot of work that has to be done before the device is ready for human trials, but researchers hope to make it that step in three or four years. One neurosurgery professor remarked that things don't always translate from animal trials to human trials.

If this technology does pass muster in human trials, it could be big news and an incredible improvement for patients in Pennsylvania who are recovering from a brain injury.

Source: Philly.com, "Could Implanted Sensor Revolutionize Brain Monitoring?," Randy Dotinga, Jan. 18, 2016

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