A team of American researchers has manufactured a smart thread to monitor the healing of a wound in the human body. Measuring different levels, doctors will receive information about the patient’s healing process via an app on their phones.
Researchers from the Tufts University of Engineering have come up with a way to monitor wound healing, PH levels, glucose, stress, strain, pressure and temperature by just clicking on their phone or their computer. By using a “smart thread,” the team of engineers managed to integrate sensors and electronics by dipping them in chemical sensing compounds, to conventional suture materials ranging from synthetics to cotton.
A new form of diagnosis
The “dipped” thread emits the different measured levels to the doctor’s phone and computer, thanks to a wireless electronic circuitry. This way the physician will be alerted if the patient is not doing well. Researchers had tissue health in mind since it is very common for a wound to get infected without being noticed by the patient. In some cases, overlooking an infected wound can lead to more severe complications.
In many cases, wound infections happen because of contagion in the surgical site and it can occur in different locations on people’s skin. In a superficial matter, involves only the part of the incision. In a deep incisional infection, affecting deeper tissues and muscles inside of the human anatomy.
— Barb Darrow (@gigabarb) July 19, 2016
These nano-scale sensors, microfluidics, and electronics can be sutured in different layers of the human skin, having a diagnosis of the patient 24/7. Researchers assure this is the future for implantable diagnostic devices. The team of engineers has tried the equipment on rats and in vitro, working correctly. Nonetheless, further investigations need to be made on biocompatibility before testing on humans.
Envisioners support the idea of using the smart thread in future operations involving organ transplants, implants, and simple wounds. The intelligent thread is ideal for maintaining a complete monitoring on what’s happening inside and outside of the body.
“The ability to suture a thread-based diagnostic device intimately in a tissue or organ environment in three dimensions adds a unique feature that is not available with other flexible diagnostic platforms,” said Sameer Sonkusale, Ph.D. and author from Tufts University.
Researchers assure this method could be both useful and cheap since the thread is an abundant material that works perfectly for medical procedures thanks to its flexibility and ease of manipulation.
The new vision of the material can grow in the future to make smart bandages that cover an open and delicate wound or even make smart clothing that monitors the human body and changes within it. Now, researchers are assuming this is the future for “personalized health monitors.”
— National Science Fdn (@NSF) July 20, 2016
Source: Tufts Now