NJIT receives patent for new shunt to aid brain-injured patients

NJIT Professor Gordon Thomas and NJIT Research Professor Reginald Farrow, both in the department of physics, and NJIT alumnus Sheng Liu, formerly a doctoral student of both researchers and now an engineer at a biotech company, were awarded a patent today for the NJIT SmartShunt, a unique device to help patients with brain injuries.

The patent, entitled "No Clog Shunt Using a Compact Fluid Drag Path" (US Patent Number 8,088,091), discloses a device that enables the non-invasive wireless monitoring of both the extremely slow flow of cerebrospinal fluid as well as tiny changes in pressure in a shunt that drains fluid out of the brain. Ordinary shunts are commonly used by patients suffering from severe excess pressure in the brain due to or .

"A serious problem with shunts is that they may malfunction or become obstructed. The symptoms include a severe headache, but can be confusing, particularly when patients are small children," said Thomas. Such uncertainty can lead to the performance of unnecessary and unpleasant surgical procedures or, alternatively, to the postponement of what could be life-saving medical interventions.

"The technology will enable patients and physicians to determine whether cerebrospinal is in fact, impaired," added Farrow. The device will also allow those involved to determine better what medical procedures should be performed

The NJIT SmartShunt™ includes a set of components that are geared toward reducing the potential for obstruction. It is designed to have a lifetime of more than a decade because it needs no internal power. "The SmartShunt™ will also be a valuable new tool for research into what extent diet, motion and medication of patients can improve the pressure and flow of the fluid in the brain," Thomas added.

The NJIT team has been working on this device since September 2004 with grants from New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and most recently from the National Institutes of Health.

Provided by New Jersey Institute of Technology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brain Fluid Sensor May Improve Hydrocephalus Treatment

Jul 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hydrocephalus, or "water on the brain" as it is often called, is a condition that is diagnosed in tens of thousands in the U.S. every year, causing symptoms from mild gait problems to life-threatening seizures.

Recommended for you

The human race evolved to be fair for selfish reasons

5 hours ago

"Make sure you play fairly," often say parents to their kids. In fact, children do not need encouragement to be fair, it is a unique feature of human social life, which emerges in childhood. When given the o ...

Non-stop PET/CT scan provides accurate images

Sep 18, 2014

Siemens is improving PET/CT imaging and data quality while reducing radiation exposure. The Biograph mCT Flow PET/CT scanner is a new positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system that, ...

Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

Sep 17, 2014

The preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin contains signs of tuberculosis and possibly some other lung disease, medical experts said Wednesday.

User comments