Unique Ultrasound Sticker Monitors Internal Organs

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In medical wearables’ news, MIT engineers designed a unique ultrasound sticker that monitors deep internal organs for any issues.

  • The ultrasound wearable sends sound waves through the skin, reflecting off internal organs and bouncing back to the bioadhesive sticker.
  • Analysis of reflected wave patterns allows the sensor to detect changes in organ rigidity, which is crucial for early disease diagnosis.

MIT engineers have developed a unique ultrasound sticker that monitors deep internal organs for signs of acute illnesses.

Led by mechanical engineering professor Xuanhe Zhao and his team at MIT, the research was published in Science Advances.

This unique ultrasound wearable sends sound waves through the skin and into the body. The sound waves then reflect off internal organs and bounce back to the sticker. By analyzing the wave patterns, the sensor can detect changes in organ rigidity, a crucial indicator of disease progression. As of now, the unique ultrasound sticker can assess the stiffness over a span of 48 hours.

“When some organs undergo disease, they can stiffen over time,” explains Professor Zhao. “With this wearable sticker, we can continuously monitor changes in rigidity over long periods of time, which is crucially important for early diagnosis of internal organ failure.”

The wearable sensor, which is about the size of a nicotine patch, continuously monitors organ stiffness, a sign of certain medical conditions, including kidney and liver failures. It could also track the progression of solid tumors.

While the invention is not yet ready for human trials, the preliminary experiments are promising. The sensor successfully identified early signs of acute liver failure in rats.

At first glance, this seems a bit redundant. Why would a patient need a sticky ultrasound device if they can get one at the hospital?

As you might know, transplanted organs can never be 100% matched to the recipient. So, after a transplant, the healthcare providers need to monitor the organ to see if the recovery is going well. They could wheel in a clunky ultrasound machine into the room several times a day and bother the recovering patient, who probably feels like he’s been run over by a truck. Or they can just connect to this unique ultrasound wearable and check the organ.

Imagine a burn victim teetering on the edge of death. They can’t handle a traditional ultrasound. However, the physician may be able to find a patch of unharmed skin to place the unique ultrasound sticker. The goal here is not just medical efficiency, but also patient care.

If they manage to modify it so it monitors for more than 48 hours, patients could monitor themselves at home using this unique ultrasound sticker. And if they manage to pair it with artificial intelligence, it could alert the patient’s doctors if the patient’s state starts worsening.

Even though the device was created for diagnostic purposes, it can be a game changer for palliative care.

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