Prevent brain damage from stroke with the help of a mini robot

Prevent brain damage from stroke with the help of a mini robot

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New method for protection against brain damage discovered

A newly developed robot thread that meanders through the blood vessels in the brain could prevent brain damage in the victims of strokes in the future.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's latest investigation found that a special robotic thread can prevent brain damage in stroke victims. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Science Robotics".

The time window for preventing brain damage is very short

The remote-controlled thread can be passed through the structure of the brain to break down blood clots and deliver life-saving medication, the researchers explain. Stroke sufferers typically have a short window of time (approximately one to two hours) during which the most effective treatment is to prevent permanent brain damage or save their lives.

Current procedures are complex and dangerous

Currently, surgeons have to manually insert a thin wire through the patient's leg or groin and then guide them from there to the brain. This is a very dangerous procedure, for which too few surgeons are adequately trained, explains the research group. The procedure also exposes practitioners to large amounts of X-rays to image the blood vessels. The new robot thread, on the other hand, can be controlled via a computer, which is operated behind a protective screen or even from another location. The device at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has already been successfully tested in a silicone replica of the brain.

New discovery could save many lives

If an acute stroke is treated within the first 90 minutes, the survival rates of those affected increase significantly. With a device that clears the blood vessel block during this period, permanent brain damage could be avoided, the team reports.

How is the robot thread structured?

The robot is made of a nickel-titanium alloy, a material that is both flexible and resilient. In addition, the thread was coated with a so-called hydrogel, a material that does not impair the sensitivity of the magnetic particles underneath and still gives the wire a smooth, friction-free and biocompatible surface. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Yoonho Kim, German A. Parada, Shengduo Liu, Xuanhe Zhao: Ferromagnetic soft continuum robots, in Science Robotics (query: 29.08.2019), Science Robotics

Video: Mini Stroke can Shorten Life Expectancy (June 2022).