Researchers have developed a biodegradable implant that stimulates the nerves electrically to encourage regeneration.
Developed by teams at Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine, the implant is the first example of bioresorbable electronic medicine. The wireless device, about the size of a dime, can wrap around a damaged nerve, where it will deliver continuous electrical stimulation to the nerve for two weeks.
Tests on rats with the device showed improved nerve regrowth, after which the device dissolved harmlessly. However, the team believes that not only can the lifespan of the device be modified, it could also function as a temporary pacemaker and spinal interface.
Image Credit: Matthew MacEwan/Mike Worful) The device degrades in a few weeks when exposed to saltwater, which mimics bodily fluids, as shown above (top left, device before immersion; top right, 10 days after immersion; bottom left, 15 days; bottom right, 25 days).
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