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Controlling illness with radio waves: New electronic implants could aid depression, heart failure

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/21/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Implants could take over medications in controlling health conditions

Scientists are currently developing ways to beam power deep into the body remotely using radio waves. These implants could provide instantaneous cures for diseases which now require lengthy and costly drug treatments.

Electronic implants could provide instantaneous cures for diseases which currently require lengthy drug treatments.

Electronic implants could provide instantaneous cures for diseases which currently require lengthy drug treatments.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/21/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Electro-sensors, pacemakers, hearing aids, radio-controlled


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Medical implants previously required bulky batteries or wireless charging devices that have a limited range. Stanford University researcher Ada Poon has since created a technique which allows devices to operate deep in the body, opening curative processes for heart failure, Parkinson's and depression.

The device has already been tested in a living pig which could be powered or recharged by a credit-card sized device placed externally on the skin. Poon is currently preparing the system for testing in humans.

Starvation never takes a vacation --

New devices will be able to operate from deep within the body.

New devices will be able to operate from deep within the body.


Using wireless power about as strong as a mobile phone signal, the device was tested by an independent laboratory. The gadget was found to be well below safe levels for a human.

The technology uses "mid-field" waves which fall somewhere between the near-field waves used to charge electronic toothbrushes in their cradles and the far-field waves which carry our television and radio signals.

Hearing aids can already be charged using near-field waves. The technology has a limited range and cannot be used to power implants buried deep in brain, heart or other muscle tissue.

The new findings could possibly lead to new implants that will help to cure or manage diseases, to also use sensors to monitor vital functions, electro-stimulators to change neural signals in the brain and drug delivery systems to apply medicines directly to affected areas.

"We need to make these devices as small as possible to more easily implant them deep in the body and create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain," Poon says.

What could

What could 'electroceuticals' cure? 1. Parkinson's 2. Epilepsy 3. Pain relief 4. Depression 5. Heart failure


Treatments could be more effective than drugs because implantable devices would directly target specific areas, unlike drugs which act globally throughout the body.

"To make electroceuticals practical, devices must be miniaturized, and ways must be found to power them wirelessly, deep in the brain, many centimeters from the surface," William Newsome, director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute says.

"The Poon lab has solved a significant piece of the puzzle for safely powering implantable micro devices, paving the way for new innovation in this field."

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