Friday, October 30, 2009

PEDOT helps Artificial Limbs To Feel Heat, Cold, Touch !

We know that, Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) or PEDOT (or sometimes PEDT) is a conducting polymer based on 3,4-ethylenedioxylthiophene or EDOT monomer. Advantages of this polymer are optical transparency in its conducting state, high stability and moderate band gap and low redox potential. A large disadvantage is poor solubility which is partly circumvented in the PEDOT:PSS composite, and the PEDOT-TMA material. (Note: Pedot is a transparent conductor. These conductors are used for LCDs and solar cells, among others.)

But more interesting property of this polymer has been established by Physicians at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). They have discovered that the polymer (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene or PEDOT) helps stimulate and grow new nerve fibers in severed nerves of amputees. Stimulating and growing nerve fibers are one of the first steps in providing amputees more neurologic control over their prosthetics. PEDOT functions similar to a wire. In the study, the PEDOT was placed in a tube, along with other biologic and synthetic materials, and grafted into the severed leg nerve of a rat. New nerve fibers grew and took over function for the dead or dysfunctional severed nerve springing targeted muscles to life.

Most interesting is the other study, plastic surgeons designed a cup containing cells and muscle that fits around the severed leg nerve of a rat. The PEDOT polymer was wrapped around all of the cells and muscle in the cup to provide an electrical charge. Tests were conducted 114 days after the procedure. The study found new muscle and blood vessels formed, nerve fibers sprouted, and muscle fibers started compensating for lost nerves. After tickling the rat's paw, doctors' were able to pick up electrical signals indicating sensation had returned. Hope in the days to come "real feeling" to artificial limbs.....

One can read/view this slide show..

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