New sensors could lead to easier brain injury recoveries

Each day, residents of Mississauga, Ontario, suffer brain injuries of varying degrees. Some cases are minor and require a short recuperation period. Others are more serious and symptoms are present for a much longer period of time. In some situations the symptoms don’t really ever go away. There are multiple ways in which such an injury might occur and diagnosing the condition can be difficult. Likewise, so too can treating it. 

One of the important things to monitor when someone is recovering from a traumatic brain injury is the pressure in the skull. Swelling can lead to adverse side effects that could result in more damage to the brain. Currently, to try to manage this issue, implants with wires are used. Though these implants may make it possible to monitor a brain injury patient, there are some drawbacks to this approach, including:

  • Restriction of movement during physical therapy
  • Allergic reactions
  • Infection
  • Haemorrhage

New brain sensors recently developed by neurosurgeons and engineers at universities in the United States could change that. The sensors are wireless which makes it easier for the patient to move around during recovery. They are also biodegradable as they are made of thin sheets of silicon. As a result they naturally dissolve in the body after several weeks.

Thus far, the sensors—which may one day also be used to monitor other organs in the human body in addition to the brain—have been tested on rats. The implantation of the prototype sensors in their heads has returned positive results regarding biocompatibility and performance.

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. In addition, the financial expense following a brain injury can be excessive. When the incident that led to the brain injury was the fault of another party, it may be possible to take legal action to try to recoup damages.

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