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Electronics news

New device that keeps brain function separate from body

Dallas, November 02, 2023 Researchers led by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have developed a device that can isolate blood flow to the brain, keeping it alive and functioning independently of the rest of the body for about 5 hours.

The device, tested on a pig brain model and described in the journal Scientific Reports, could lead to new ways to study the human brain.

The brain is the main controller of various processes in the body. It regulates heart rate, breathing, sleep and wake cycles. Its work is affected by: blood sugar levels, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation. "Until now, it has not been possible to separate the brain from the body to study these influences," explained Juan Pascual, M.D., professor of neurology, pediatrics and physiology.

Isolating the brain will allow researchers to manipulate the input signals to this organ and study how they alter brain function without the body's influence.

Cardiopulmonary bypass machines replicate some of the functions of the heart and lungs, allowing blood to flow continuously throughout the body. In contrast, the new device delivers blood in a pulsating stream, similar to the human heart. This difference may prevent the brain-related side effects that cardiopulmonary bypass devices sometimes cause.