Researchers find osmotic therapy device for spinal cord injuries

New Delhi, Aug 14 (ANI): Rapid prevention of spinal cord swelling immediately after injury is key to preventing more serious damage. A team of researchers has now provided an osmotic therapy device that gently removes fluid from the spinal cord to reduce swelling in injured rats with good results. Published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, a group led by Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering Jacques S. Yeager, Sr. Professor of Bioengineering Victor G. J. Rodgers and UCR School of Medicine biomedical sciences professor Devin Binder have described the new device, which can eventually be scaled up for testing in humans. The device consists of a tangential flow module supporting a semipermeable membrane connected to a hydrogel that rests on the exposed spinal cord. Artificial cerebrospinal fluid containing the protein albumin to initiate osmosis passes across the device side of the membrane, transporting water molecules from the spinal cord. Both fluids drain into a small chamber and cycle again through the device to remove more water. The amount of water removed is small compared to the amount of osmolyte, allowing for recirculation. The authors have found in previous studies that relatively small increases in the percent of water content can cause significant swelling in the brain. These experiments showed that the osmotic therapy device removed enough water to prevent brain swelling and was capable of removing even more.