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Spinal Injury – A Better Chance With Flexible Implantables

Spinal-Injury-A-Better-Chance-With-Flexible-ImplantablesThe story starts with Gregoire Courtine and his team of scientists. They were using old implants in mice with spinal injury problems. In their work, they were trying to get the mice walk again. However, the rigid wires ended up damaging the mice’s nervous systems.

Courtine decided that here has to be a better way. There has to be a better material that would not damage the nervous system in its patients. Few months later, together with the electrical engineer Stéphanie Lacour, they came up with a new type of implant.

It is a new material that has the same ability to bend and stretch just as the “dura mater.” That is the membrane that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. It is from soft silicone, flexible gold wires, and rubbery electrodes flecked with platinum. It also has a microchannel through which the researchers can pump in the drugs needed in a spinal injury case. They call it “e-dura.”

Their work adds to the ongoing advances in flexible electronics. More doctors and experts are collaborating to make patches that match the properties of the skin but also include circuits, smart sensors. It is the age of digital health.

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