A research team led by Igor Efimov at Washington University in St. Lewis has developed a stretchy, custom-fitted, implantable device that can give doctors feedback about life-threatening irregularities occurring inside someone’s heart. This photo shows sensors embedded in the silicon membrane that could provide stimulation to the surface of the heart. (Source: Washington University/St. Louis)
Good question, Cabe. I think the connection would probably be secured somehow to avoid such scenarios, but in truth I don't really know. Something for me to follow up on with the researchers. Thanks for asking!
The medical uses for the membrane are certainly remarkable. I assume the information collected would be sent over a Wi-Fi connection for doctors to review. So my question is, wouldn't that make it vulnerable to being hacked? I say this because heart defibrillators and pacemakers can be hacked to overvolt or dump their medicine, which would be detrimental to the patient.
That is a very interesting question, a2. I suppose when any information is sent wirelessly there are security issues, but I can't imagine they would not be addressed before these devices were used on patients. But these are good questions to be asking before the technology comes out of the lab.
Elizebeth, in terms of cancerous cells we can say that as kemitherapy is the solution for cancer but it is very hazardous as well so i guess 3D technology should do something or introduce any technology which act as a replacement of kemotherapy to reduce the side effects .
The other question is about connections, which none are visible in the photo. It certainly is an interesting concept, and more details about the actual printing process would be both educational and potentially useful. The point about this being a stretchy design makes it quite unique indeed. Most designs are ridgid, typically, or a bit flexible at best. So flexible and stretchable is something quite new.
I don't know about the process, William K., I would have to look into it further. Yes, the operation certainly would be risky, as all surgeries are, especially when the heart is exposed. I imagine this type of thing would only be used in patients that really needed constant monitoring and for whom it would be more beneficial to have potentially dangerous surgery than not. Or perhaps there is a low-invasive way to insert the membrane. I will try to do some digging and get back to you.
Researchers have been developing a number of nano- and micro-scale technologies that can be used for implantable medical technology for the treatment of disease, diagnostics, prevention, and other health-related applications.
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