Freiburg researchers develop new method for lowering high blood pressure without side effects
High blood pressure is the greatest health risk worldwide behind smoking and alcohol consumption. In Germany, around 25 percent of the population suffers from arterial hypertension, as the condition is referred to in medical circles. The microsystems engineers Dr. Dennis Plachta and Prof. Dr. Thomas Stieglitz from the Laboratory of Biomedical Microtechnology at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg teamed up with the neurosurgeons Dr. Mortimer Gierthmühlen and Prof. Dr. Josef Zentner from the Medical Center – University of Freiburg to develop a new cuff equipped with electrodes that can lower blood pressure without causing side effects.
The cuff is equipped with electrodes that can lower blood pressure without causing side effects. Source: IMTEK
Doctors usually prescribe drugs against high blood pressure. In around 35 percent of patients, however, pills do not succeed in reducing blood pressure in the long term. Chronic high blood pressure leads to damage in other organs – the eyes, kidneys, the heart, and the central nervous system, in particular. In order to help patients whose blood pressure cannot be reduced by means of drugs, the Freiburg researchers propose implanting a newly developed cuff with 24 electrodes in the so-called vagal nerve on the neck. The device starts by determining which electrode is closest to the nerve fibers that transmit the blood pressure signal. Then it uses electrostimulation to overwrite the information in these fibers with such precision that other bundles of fibers with other functions are not affected. The researchers have named this procedure for individual analysis, selection, and stimulation “BaroLoopTM.”
The scientists tested the device on rats and succeeded in lowering their mean blood pressure by 30 percent, without causing side effects such as a reduced heart rate or a drastic decrease in respiratory rate. The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of Neural Engineering.
The idea for the research project originated in 2004 within the context of the establishment of the Peter Osypka Endowed Chair in Neuroelectronic Systems at the Department of Neurosurgery. Now that the scientists have determined that a cuff with electrodes is feasible in principle, they have begun to develop a completely implantable system. As such a device is classed as an active implant that must fulfill the highest level of safety standards according to medical product laws, they do not expect to produce a licensed product for at least ten years.
“Blood pressure control with selective vagal nerve stimulation and minimal side effects” (D T T Plachta et al. 2014 Journal of Neural Engineering 11 036011).
Melanie Hübner | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
True to type: From human biopsy to complex gut physiology on a chip
14.02.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
The Scanpy software processes huge amounts of single-cell data
12.02.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy