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no cut brain surgery

I was googling for ".22 cal brain surgery"

but found something interesting and enlightening instead:

No Cut Brain Surgery using Ultrasonic Heating


That's thanks to a new machine developed by InSightec, which uses high-intensity ultrasound beams to heat up and destroy diseased brain tissue. Machinery like this had previously been used to treat some cancers, for example in the uterus and breast. But until now, the distorting effects brought about by the skull's thickness has made it impossibly tricky to focus the beams onto the brain while also maintaining the required accuracy.

InSightec's technology solves that by using over a thousand individually focused transducers, which broadcast the ultrasonic beams. But it's not like shooting a laser into a person's head--rather, the beams raise the temperature of the location being treated by about forty degrees, or just enough to kill the diseased cells. A built-in cooling system keeps the brain from cooking like an egg overheating. A Swiss study confirming the efficacy of the technique was just published this month in the Annals of Neurology. In patients with chronic pain which is usually treated by destroying parts of the thalamus, the new gadget worked without side effects and also immediately--compared to traditional techniques that take weeks to become effective.

so, now we can temporarily disrupt neural function using Transcranial Magnetostimulation (TMS), and then make the cuts permanent using this technology. We can also use this ultrasound technology to do run of the mill things like kill brain tumors.

Also, this could be a nifty way to do rapid prototyping - 3d ultrasonic welding of a slurry of plastic in a vat, and then shake the slurry off the finished 3d piece.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 14th, 2009 11:22 am (UTC)
nifty!coddled egg head?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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