Wireless and Dissolvable Sensors to Monitor Traumatic Brain Injuries

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brain Scan

An international team of engineers, material scientists and neurosurgeons from America and South Korea have developed a mini wireless electronic device that can monitor pressure and temperature inside the brain. The advantage of the device is that it gets absorbed in the body, thereby negating the need for surgery to remove it.

The new electronic implant could be used to monitor patients with traumatic brain injuries and researchers believe that they could build similar devices to monitor activities in other organs as well. At present, electronic implants are widely used for treating cardiac patients. Such devices are implanted permanently, which is a cause of worry as wires and metallic components often become breeding grounds for bacteria. Moreover, they could cause infection, chronic inflammation and erosion, which calls for another surgery to remove the device.

The new device can aid doctors in diagnosing temperature and intracranial pressure in the brain and inside the skull of a person with traumatic brain injury. The device consists of a pressure and temperature sensor, each smaller than a rice grain fixed on a biodegradable silicon chip that sits on the brain. The device is wirelessly connected to a transmitter outside the skull. Researchers tested the device in rats, wherein, it successfully monitored intracranial pressure and temperature changes on par with the existing devices. The devices’ components made from green electronics remain in the body for a few weeks after which, it dissolves completely. The study was published in the journal ‘Nature’.

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