Researchers have developed an implant that is only three times as wide as a hair and should warn against epilepsy. Image: Purdue News Service photo / David Umberger
Read aloud An instrument implanted under the scalp could in future warn patients with epilepsy of a seizure. That's the idea of ​​Purdue University scientists who have developed such a small probe. On the other hand, a second working group of the university works on a measuring device with which the intraocular pressure can be constantly monitored. The sensor could facilitate the treatment of patients at risk for glaucoma. Both sensors will be tested on patients in one to two years. The epilepsy device developed by researchers led by Pedro Irazoqui collects nerve signals from several areas of the brain via tiny electrodes and forwards them to a transmitter. An external receiver then picks these up and evaluates them. Based on certain typical features, the signs of an epileptic seizure can often be recognized, explain the researchers.

Thus, the patients can be treated in advance with appropriate medication. The long-term goal is to release these drugs directly in the affected brain region. This is to happen via living cells coated electrodes in which the active ingredient is produced directly. The meter will be powered by a 5-cc battery and will be tested on patients for the first time in two years.

The smallest possible low-power meter was also the development goal of Purdue University's second working group, which is working on an implantable probe to determine intraocular pressure. The device is implanted between two tissue layers in the eye and also sends its measurement data to an external receiver. Thus, the intraocular pressure, which is considered a major risk factor for glaucoma, constantly monitored.

Although such a measurement can also be made externally by the ophthalmologist, explains Irazoqui. The difficulty, however, is that the intraocular pressure changes within hours, sometimes minutes and so a single short measurement does not give a coherent picture. First, the device is tested in animal experiments. The first tests with patients should then follow in about one and a half years. display

Communication from Purdue University, West Lafayette ddp / science.de? Ulrich Dewald

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