For many people, implanted electronics are required to live a healthy life, but the machines require surgery, can be costly, and the devices sometimes need replacement parts.
In 2018, scientists at Northwestern University revealed new research on flexible, dissolvable electronic materials. In one case, they showed how the materials could be used during surgery. If nerves have been severed, doctors suture them back together and reawaken them using electrodes and gentle electrical stimulation—but they typically don’t have enough time in the operating room to provide restorative therapy beyond what would be minimally required.
The team demonstrated that dissolving electrodes could be used to wirelessly transmit the electrical signal and stimulate repaired nerves for several days, which could cut recovery time in half. Once the therapy was finished, the materials broke down and were excreted.
The study was done in rats, but it shouldn’t be long before we start to see clinical applications in humans.
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