People can never endure any pain and many a time, they might have thought of getting rid of it in some manner. Well, there is good news now with a team of scientists and engineers at Northwestern University developing an implantable pain relieving device.
The research supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation claims it as a promising alternative to opioids and other addictive analgesics. The researchers said that it could dtransform post-surgical pain management.
PAIN; HOW IT WORKS?
The new devise provides targeted cooling to block pain signals and numb the nerves it envelops. The user can also adjust the level of intensity using an external pump. The device is resorbable, which means that it naturally absorbs into the body if longer needed. No surgical extraction needed.
Corresponding author John Rogers said “they were motivated by the idea of treating pain without drugs — in ways that can be turned on and off instantly, with user control over the intensity of relief.”
“As engineers, we are motivated This technology exploits mechanisms that have some similarities to those that cause your fingers to feel numb when cold. Our implant allows that effect to be produced in a programmable way, directly and locally to targeted nerves, even those deep within surrounding soft tissues,” John Rogers said.
The researchers said that the device has channels containing a liquid coolant and dry nitrogen. This helpsin producing the cooling effect that leads to nerve numbness and pain relief. It also has a sensor and controls to prevent damage.
“Excessive cooling can damage the nerve and the fragile tissues around it,” Rogers said. “The duration and temperature of the cooling must therefore be controlled precisely. By monitoring the temperature at the nerve, the flow rates can be adjusted automatically to set a point that blocks pain in a reversible, safe manner. Ongoing work seeks to define the full set of time and temperature thresholds below which the process remains fully reversible.”
The paper-thin bioresorbable device dissolves naturally in days or weeks with no side effects and is small enough to wrap around a single nerve.
A bioelectronics pioneer, Rogers is the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery in the McCormick School of Engineering and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He also is the founding director of the Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics. Jonathan Reeder, a former postdoctoral fellow in Rogers’ laboratory, is the paper’s first author.