Filling me softly
Surgical implants are widely used in modern medicine but their effectiveness is often compromised by how our bodies react to them. Now, scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that implant stiffness is a major cause of this so-called foreign body reaction. An obvious difference between electrodes and brain tissue is stiffness. Brain tissue is as soft as cream cheese, it is one of the softest tissues in the body, and electrodes are orders of magnitude stiffer Dr Kristian Franze This is the first time that stiffness of implant materials has been shown to be involved in foreign body reactions.
The findings could lead to major improvements in surgical implants and the quality of life of patients whose lives depend on them. Foreign bodies often trigger a process that begins with inflammation and ends with the foreign body being encapsulated with scar tissue. When this happens after an accident or injury, the process is usually vital to healing, but when the same occurs around, for example, electrodes implanted in the brain to alleviate tremor in Parkinson