Say Bye to Brain and Spinal Injuries

There are nearly 2 million traumatic brain injuries per year, 500,000 of which require hospital admission. 75,000-100,000 deaths are due to this in the United States alone. Similarly, there are approximately 6 million people living with paralysis, while 250,000 Americans have spinal cord injuries.

Brain and spinal injury is clearly a huge cause for suffering. We have not yet dug deeper into the human brain, so we have not been able to see it’s bigger picture yet. Due to this, it is extremely risky to treat many brain injuries using surgery. Similarly, many forms of spinal injury are also extremely hard to treat due to its fragility.

However, the whole dynamic of this is going to change with the creation of a technology designed for the detection and alleviation of brain and spinal injuries. This amazing piece of technology will allow for brain and spinal injuries to be a common issue, along the lines of a bruise or a paper cut. This device will be implanted onto the section of the spinal cord close to the brain, which will then be able to monitor both the spinal cord as well as the brain. There will be sensors on the device that send electric signals out and receive feedback; abnormal feedback will trigger the device. Its source of energy would be the heat generated by the body. There will be a thermoelectric generator on the device, which will allow the heat generated by the body to be converted into electric energy for the device to run on.

If somebody has just suffered from a trauma to the brain or spinal cord, this device will sense the trauma in the respective region and trigger the neurons to send out certain proteins and antibodies to accelerate the process of healing. Healing always takes time, and this device will create no exception. The human body will as it is now, except with a device to simply direct the body and the brain to produce the healing proteins and antibodies where necessary.

We are a long way off from such a incredible and useful piece of technology. It is going to require immense amounts of research to develop this, such as the mapping of the human brain to see what proteins are expressed in what part of the brain for what activity. It is essential to know the function of the proteins so that the right ones are released for the appropriate injuries in the appropriate parts of the brain. This information will be embedded into the device in somewhat of a encyclopedia format, where the corresponding injuries will trigger the respective proteins. As this research will be part of a progression, the next step will be the creation of a substance that acts as these healing proteins. The idea of this research would be to develop substances which will be more efficient for the process of healing for the human body as an aid to the device.

Keep in mind that not all brain and spinal injuries will be so easily fixed in the beginning stages, as the device will not be as developed. However, the aim is to be able to sustain immense injuries, but come out of the process feeling healthy and stable. This device only affects the nervous system, so skeletal injuries are out of its control. However, ensuring security to the brain and spinal cord will resolve a major part of the problem, as these two structures are vital parts of the body.

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Sources for statistics:

http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.mtKZKgMWKwG/b.5184189/k.5587/Paralysis_Facts__Figures.htm
http://www.sci-info-pages.com/facts.html
http://www.headinjuryctr-stl.org/statistics.html

7 responses to “Say Bye to Brain and Spinal Injuries”

  1. Carlos Aizenman says:

    Interesting, would this device be able to heal injuries where the spinal cord is severed?

    • Aiswarya Nagasubramony says:

      That is the idea. However, would there be any chance that placing the device anywhere else in the body could show the same efficiency of detecting signals from the spinal cord and brain? If so, that could be a potential solution. Or maybe, the device could be placed in the CSF, where it could shift back and forth even if the spinal cord was severed.

  2. Madiha Shafquat says:

    This is really interesting. There’s a lot of research going on now related to gene therapy. I wonder if, instead of producing the healing proteins itself, the device could induce the expression of genes coding for the proteins within the body.

  3. Dhruv Mohnot says:

    Nice idea! Hopefully in the future spinal cord injuries wont be as life threatening!

  4. Brooke Nawrocki says:

    Great idea! It would indeed be a very practical and rewarding invention.

  5. Tina Voelcker says:

    My favorite part is how it uses the body’s heat for its power supply – just awesome.

  6. Aliya Saffran says:

    This is so interesting! It would be amazing if this device could actually be created. I think research for this would take a very long time, but it would definitely be worth it if the device could work successfully!

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