Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Develop Heat Spreader for Epileptic Seizure Treatment Device

27.07.2005


Graphic courtesy of G. P. "Bud" Peterson


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers are developing a tiny, highly efficient heat spreader to be used in a new device to be implanted in the brain of patients who suffer from severe epileptic seizures. The implant device is designed to detect and arrest epileptic seizures as they begin by cooling a small region of the brain, thereby effectively blocking the erratic electrical activity.

G. P. “Bud” Peterson, provost and professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer, and his team are collaborating with researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to design, model, test, and develop the implant device. The research and the potential of the device are featured in the July 16 issue of New Scientist.

The heat spreader being developed at Rensselaer utilizes a phase-change heat process, the same mechanism that the human body uses to cool itself, to transfer and distribute heat in the brain. The fundamental principal behind the operation of the heat spreader is evaporation and condensation, similar to perspiration. Using a pure substance, saturated conditions are created inside the heat pipe, resulting in evaporation in the heated regions. Heat entering the pipe turns the liquid water to vapor, which is forced along the pipe by high pressure where it is condensed in the cooler regions. The dissipated heat is then pushed out of the heat pipe, and the wicking structure pumps the liquid back to the evaporator.



“The heat spreader we created for this implant device acts as a very efficient thermal conductor, spreading and releasing the heat without minimal temperature increase, thereby preventing any potential tissue damage to the brain,” said Peterson. “The brain can tolerate temperature reductions on the order of 18 to 20°C without sustaining permanent damage. However, the brain cannot tolerate temperature increases over 0.5°C. This requires that the heat both absorbed and generated by the device be spread across a much larger surface area.”

Implanted on the neocortex of the brain, close to where erratic electrical activity is causing the epileptic seizure, the implant device is designed to detect the unusual level of electrical activity that accompanies these types of seizures. The implant device then is activated to cool a small area of the brain from approximately 38°C (100°F) to 20°C (68°F) to render that part of the brain temporarily non-functional and seizure-free, according to researchers.

The implant device works as a very small “thermoelectric refrigerator,” approximately 0.25 inches on a side, consisting of many tiny metal semiconductor junctions connected between two ceramic electrodes to create an electronic circuit. The result is an implantable device in which one side is cooled and other is heated as electrical current moves through it. The heat spreader being developed by Peterson and his team, allows the heat generated and absorbed by the implant device to be effectively released without a significant increase in temperature.

The implant device has been successfully tested on rats and has been approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for testing in primates. Researchers expect the device will provide a new methodology for the treatment of epileptic seizures in humans.

Peterson has conducted research on heat pipes and related two-phase heat transfer devices for 25 years, holds eight patents, and is the author or co-author of more than 145 peer-reviewed journal articles in fields as diverse as electronics and spacecraft thermal control, energy recovery systems, biomedical applications, and the cooling of valve stems in internal combustion engines.

About Rensselaer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and the media arts and technology. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

Tiffany Lohwater | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>