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Biosensor could help detect brain injuries during heart surgery
Date:11/11/2013

. This is our biggest challenge for the 21st century."

He said that recent studies found that after heart surgery, about 40 percent of infant patients will have brain abnormalities that show up in MRI scans. The damage is most often caused by strokes, which can be triggered and made worse by multiple events during surgery and recovery, when the brain is most susceptible to injury. These brain injuries can lead to deficiencies in the child's mental development and motor skills, as well as hyperactivity and speech delay.

To address these problems, Everett sought an engineer to design a biosensor that responds to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a biomarker linked to brain injuries.

"If we can be alerted when the injury is occurring," he said, "then we should be able to develop better therapies. We could improve our control of blood pressure or redesign our cardiopulmonary bypass machines. We could learn how to optimize cooling and rewarming procedures and have a benchmark for developing and testing new protective medications."

At present, Everett said, doctors have to wait years for some brain injury-related symptoms to appear. That slows down the process of finding out whether new procedures or treatments to reduce brain injuries are effective. The new device may change that.

"The sensor platform is very rapid," Everett said. "It's practically instantaneous."

To create this sensor, materials scientist Katz turned to an organic thin film transistor design. In recent years, sensors built on such platforms have shown that they can detect gases and chemicals associated with explosives. These transistors were an attractive choice for Everett's request because of their potential low cost, low power consumption, biocompatibility and ability to detect a variety of biomolecules in real time. Futhermore, the architecture of these transistors could accommodate a wide variety of other useful electronic materials.


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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-997-9907
Johns Hopkins University
Source:Eurekalert  

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