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Researchers Design Chips to Monitor Brain Injuries

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a dissolvable electronic sensory chip that melts inside your head. The purpose of the chip is to detect injuries within the brain or any other organ of your choosing, and transmit the medical data wirelessly. These ones may even work better when it comes to detecting problems early on, therefore preventing bigger issues.

The chips are about the same size as a grain of rice, so they will be able to monitor almost any part of the body. Scientists at the University of Washington successfully tested them on rats, showing no negative signs after the chip melted away. The development has been compared to dissolvable stitches, which were a huge advancement in the medical community. These chips would dissolve in biofluids, to result in biocompatible end products.

The testing process involved putting the tiny grain of sensor chip under the skin on top of the rat’s skull. All of the readings that were transmitted through the wireless chip matched up with what the conventional, hardwired systems said, including temperature and intracranial pressure after traumatic brain injury or brain surgery.

Engineering and materials science professor John Rogers of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was very impressed by the technology, saying it could possibly eliminate the need risky surgical extractions. The most practical thing about it, he thought, was the dissolvability.

“The devices can be adapted to sense fluid flow, motion, pH or thermal characteristics, in formats that are compatible with the body's abdomen and extremities, as well as the deep brain,” he stated.

If these chips are developed to their full potential, they may be able to replace hardwired systems that use cumbersome equipment. The current systems also leave patients prone to infection, bleeding, and allergic reactions.

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January 20, 2021
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