In DepthMaterials Research

Bioelectronics that vanish in the body

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Science  14 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6420, pp. 1228
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6420.1228

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The idea of electronic devices implanted in our bodies conveys images of cyborgs. But devices in use today, such as cardiac pacemakers, already save thousands of lives each year. Future devices aim to do even better, as material advances are making the new versions vanishingly small, often requiring no batteries, and even able to dissolve when no longer needed. New work presented at the recent Materials Research Society meeting in Boston showed how these devices can speed the healing of damaged nerves, quell tremors from Parkinson's and similar diseases, and even help obese patients lose weight. These new devices aren't ready for use in humans yet. But the trend is clear that novel bioelectronic devices are on their way to becoming an alternative to pharmaceuticals.