Biomedical Smart Stitches Detect Infections & Speed Healing

Medical engineers have successfully lined surgical stitches with silicon sensors that can detect infections and apply heat to wounds, a known method of shortening recovery time. 

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers have successfully coated surgical stitches in biomedical devices that can monitor for infection and aid in the healing process by applying heat to wounds, a known method for shortening recovery time. "The electronic sutures, which contain ultrathin silicon sensors integrated on polymer or silk strips, can be threaded through needles, and in animal tests researchers were able to lace them through skin, pull them tight, and knot them without degrading the devices." The silicon strips used in the stitches are flexible and connected with gold wires just a few hundred nanometers thick. 

What's the Big Idea?

Engineers behind the technology believe they have just scratched the surface of its medical potential. By coating the threads with drug-infused polymers, for example, an electrical pulse could be used to release disease-fighting chemicals. "Ultimately, the most value would be when you can release drugs from them in a programmed way," said Professor John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The technology is already being commercialized by a Cambridge, Mass., start up co-founded by Rogers himself, which plans to place the smart sutures in inflatable catheters and medical tattoos. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

​Is science synonymous with 'truth'? Game theory says, 'not always.'

Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

Videos
  • Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
  • This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
  • On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
popular

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less

NASA and ESA team up for historic planetary defense test

Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.

ESA's Hera mission above asteroid 65803 Didymos. Credit: ESA/ScienceOffice.org
Surprising Science
  • NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
  • The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
  • A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
Keep reading Show less