A magnet worm removes blood clots in the brain

A new microdevice can reach where doctors can't. The goal is to remove life-threatening blood clots.

A new microdevice can reach where doctors can’t. The goal is to remove life-threatening blood clots.

A blood clot in the brain can cause serious brain damage and be fatal if not treated very quickly.

Studies show that when a blood clot is removed within 90 minutes, the chances of survival increase significantly.

But this is a difficult operation. The doctor has to thread a catheter around the blood vessels and thus bring dissolving agents to the blood clot or directly pull or suck it out.

But surgeons will soon have new tools in their hands. Computer engineers at MIT in the US have developed a machine worm that can penetrate the difficult blood vessels in the brain.

Scientists guide the worm through a machine brain with the help of a magnet.

The worm is placed by catheterization and then remotely controlled from the outside with magnets so that it does not collide with the blood vessel walls and therefore does not cause brain bleeding.

The machine worm is only 0.6 mm in diameter and the core contains nickel and titanium which ensure that it does not swing back to its original position when not under the influence of a magnet.

On the outside of the core is a rubber coating with magnetic metal beads. The outer coating is made of so-called hydrogel, which ensures that the device easily penetrates the blood vessels.

Magnetism drives the worm

With magnetism, doctors can guide a worm around the vascular system from the outside. This ensures that the worm does not collide with blood vessel walls and cause brain bleeding.

The worm covered with micromagnetic scars

The worm is covered with magnets. They work like small magnets that all turn the same.

The magnetic field shapes direction

When the worm enters a magnetic field, it deflects towards its north pole. When the magnetic field disappears, it straightens itself again.

So far, the worm has only been tested in an artificial brain with vitreous vessels.

The next step is to test it in the brains of dead people.

The scientists believe that the magnetic control opens up the possibility of being able to treat patients from a distance so that the operation can be done even earlier and the risk of permanent brain damage is thus greatly reduced.

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