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New technology shown to minimize brain injuries


April 19, 2012

A new technique known as mechanical tissue resuscitation has been shown to reduce the cell deaths that result from brain injuries (Image via Shutterstock)

A new technique known as mechanical tissue resuscitation has been shown to reduce the cell deaths that result from brain injuries (Image via Shutterstock)

When the brain receives a traumatic injury, irreversible damage occurs as the cells at the point of impact die. Injured cells surrounding the area then release toxic substances, which cause the brain to swell. This decreases blood flow within the brain, leading to lower oxygen levels, which in turn leads to more cell deaths. Recently, however, scientists from North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a new technique, that has greatly reduced the secondary cell deaths in brain-injured lab rats.

The process is known as mechanical tissue resuscitation (MTR), and it involves the application of negative pressure to remove fluids. In the study, the researchers placed a bioengineered material matrix directly on the injured area of the rats’ brains, then attached a flexible tube which was run into a computer-controlled vacuum pump. Over the next 72 hours, that pump proceeded to steadily draw off fluid released by the injured cells.

Afterwards, brains that were treated in this fashion showed considerably less in the way of swelling and toxic fluids, than those that were left untreated. The treated rats also lost over 50% less brain tissue than the untreated group, and were able to regain brain functions more quickly.

MTR should reportedly soon be ready for clinical trials. The scientists are also looking into its use on stroke and brain hemorrhage victims.

The research is being funded by the Department of Defense.

Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Brain, the most fascinating body part. It still has many surprises for us. Good that they work on new techniques that can allow us get more familiar with brain, its functions and possibilities. I guess that possibilities are numerous...


Hyperosmotic fluid wash down of the affected area would do the same - now that they proved the method , it's time to make it simple , safe , cheap.

Károly Hőss
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