science

New Australian implant capable of preventing seizures

CANBERRA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) — Researchers from Australia’s national science agency have developed an implant capable of monitoring brain activity and preventing seizures after surgery.

The team from Data61, the digital specialist arm of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), revealed the implant on Monday.

Umut Guvenc, a member of the research team, said that traumatic brain injuries affect 69 million people around the world, one in three of whom will likely develop epilepsy as a result of frequent seizures.

“These seizures are often difficult to detect, with current monitoring techniques only able to be used in a hospital, using bulky devices for less than 24 hours, providing a brief snapshot of brain activity during that time only,” he said in a media release.

“This new method can continuously monitor brain activity wirelessly, allowing the patient to be mobile, comfortable and more socially active.”

During normal activity the device conserves power, only becoming active when it detects a seizure.

Researchers will now use a one million Australian dollar grant from the government to develop a “smart helmet” to monitor brain swelling in stroke and brain injury patients as well as a “brain machine interface” that will enable clinicians to monitor brain function in real time.

“Information provided by the implants can be used to inform clinicians about the patient’s brain activity and inform decisions regarding the administering of drugs,” senior Data61 researcher Peter Marendy said.

“The combination of brain swelling, surgery timing and patient outcome data will enable further study on the ideal time to perform a reconstructive cranioplasty to achieve the best patient outcome–research that will ultimately influence future medical decisions.”

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