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U of Wisconsin breakthrough could help soothe chronic pain without opioids

University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineers and their collaborators have made a breakthrough that could dramatically reduce the cost of neuromodulation therapy, increase its reliability and make it much less invasive, the university announced.
By electrically stimulating nerves, neuromodulation therapies can reduce epileptic seizures, treat depression and a host of other health conditions, and soothe chronic pain—all without the use of conventional drugs like opioids, according to the article.

With a novel electrode that can be injected as a liquid and then cure in the body, the researchers have laid the groundwork for a new kind of neural interface system, the article states.

The researcher is featured in a paper published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

The researchers' system leverages an entirely new way of thinking.
 
“You can inject the liquid around the nerve and it cures in the body to create a wired contact,” says Kip Ludwig, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at UW-Madison. “Typical implants are really stiff, and so as the body moves, they wear and tear and break down. Our liquid cures, and the result is much closer to the normal elasticity of tissue. You can actually stretch it and increase its size 150 to 200% without losing its conductivity.”

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