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Picture of the Day

Biodegradable implant provides electrical stimulation that speeds nerve regeneration

Researchers at Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed the first example of a bioresorbable electronic medicine: an implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves the healing of a damaged nerve. The collaborators developed a device that delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after a surgical repair process, accelerating the regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhancing the ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control. The size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper, the wireless device operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body. The scientists envision that such transient, engineered technologies one day could complement or replace pharmaceutical treatments for a variety of medical conditions in humans. This type of technology, which the researchers refer to as a "bioresorbable electronic medicine," provides therapy and treatment over a clinically relevant period of time and directly at the site where it's needed, thereby reducing side effects and risks associated with conventional, permanent implants.

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