Scientists Develop Nanotechnology-Based Recovery Method for Nerves

Researchers Develop Nanomaterial with Potential to Connect and Stimulate Nerves
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Scientists from the University of Rice have made a groundbreaking discovery with the development of a new nanomaterial that has the ability to both stimulate and reconnect nerves. This innovation has the potential to replace large implants with tiny particles that can be introduced into the body.

In their quest to create these particles, the researchers utilized two layers of metal glass, known as Metglas. Sandwiched between these layers is a piezoelectric layer made of lead and zirconium titanium. Piezoelectric materials generate electricity when subjected to mechanical forces. In this particular case, the change in shape of the Metglas layer, triggered by magnetic pulses, results in the production of an electrical signal in the piezoelectric material. These materials are referred to as magnetoelectric.

Lead author of the study and doctoral student at the University of Rice, Joshua Jong, explained the motivation behind their research, stating, “We aimed to develop a nanomaterial that could stimulate the brain or nervous system with just a small amount inside the body. Magnetoelectric materials, which can react to magnetic fields and convert them into electrical signals, seemed highly suitable for this purpose.”

The scientists conducted tests on rats and discovered that the nanomaterial not only stimulates peripheral nerves in anesthetized rodents, but also restores function to severed external femoral nerves. Additionally, the new material demonstrates an impressive speed of electrical signal transmission, 120 times faster than previously developed analogues.

Joshua Chen, co-author of the study, explained the broader implications of their findings, stating, “This metamaterial can be applied to nerve regeneration and the rapid transmission of electrical signals. The concept of developing such materials may also have applications in sensors and electronic memory.”

The results of this groundbreaking study have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Materials. This research opens up new possibilities for the future of nerve regeneration and the development of advanced materials with widespread applications in various fields.

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