Babies come clearly to early to the world, it very often means that you start with a lot of cables on the body. Sensors on your fragile skin to measure blood pressure and pulse, the Figures and graphs appear on monitors around the incubator.
What ensures the Survival of the babies, keep the parents, often at a distance. To fear, to tug on a cable, or to tear one of the electrodes of the vulnerable skin. A new invention from the USA solves this Problem. The researchers have developed Sensors that are tailored to suit tiny newborns and the measured information with no cable to the Computer send.
“It was so clear that there is a need,” says John Rogers of the Northwestern University, who led the research. Skin-to-skin contact promotes in preterm infants, the development. A further aim was to construct Sensors, the glue is so strong. Currently, it comes when you Peel off again and again to violations of the skin, even if Doctors and nurses are extremely careful.
Ultra-thin silicon Sensors with thin electrodes
In a first step, the Team of ultra-developed thin patches made of flexible silicone, which will remain in the skin move to and adhere to, without developing a strong adhesive force. Then you sided with the Sensors electrodes, which are also movable, and water – unlike the previous materials no interactions with x-rays or the magnetic field of the MRI Scans unfold.
In the silicone they put a Transmitter, which transmits the readings to the hospital Computer. In order to capture all of the important data that it needs for the new development only two Sensors, which interact with each other: one on the chest and the feet.
Moving Sensor with miniature electrodes
So, for example, the chest sensor is able to monitor the heart activity, during the foot sensor to measure the oxygen saturation. By the two Sensors to determine how long the pulse from the heart to the feet, from the data of the blood pressure. No additional equipment is needed, says Rogers.
How reliable is the cable-free Sensors?
In a first Test, the researchers provided 20 babies were on the neonatal intensive care unit of Northwestern University. All the children were wired in parallel with the conventional technique. The new Sensors worked just as reliable as the tried and true, reported by Rogers and his colleagues in the journal “Science”.
In the meantime, the researchers have applied their technique at around 80 babies. The results were consistently good, says Rogers. In addition, there have been no signs of skin problems. “It’s really great”, a rating of Theodora Flores the idea. Their daughter, a twin, is one of the babies from the test group. Without the cable, you could move much more freely with your child, says the mother.
The Sensor on the foot to measure using red light, the oxygen saturation
Rosemary Higgin, who works as a pediatrician at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and does not participate in the study, was involved, is confident. The technology is promising, she says. “You might eliminate the stuck-on Sensors.”
Before the technique is approved in the US or Europe, further testing is necessary. An even greater need for the researcher to see but anyway in developing countries. They estimate that the new Sensors will be able to produce between 10 and 15 dollars. Thus, they constitute a hope for all the doctor stations that can’t afford the latest cabling technology.
With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Save The Children, Rogers is currently planning a study in Zambia, which starts in April. The goal is to have by the end of the year, up to 20,000 Sensors in India, Pakistan, and Zambia tested. The technology “could ensure that many newborn babies around the world have an equal Chance to survive,” writes Ruth Guinsburg of the Brazilian Federal University of Sao Paolo in a “Science”-comment.