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Check brain energy level as you check the oil in your car

Check brain energy level as you check the oil in your car

Publish date: 2015-08-17

Brain microdialysis could revolutionize the monitoring of patients in intensive care units. Inserting the slim probe directly into a brain can provide a constant observation of glucose – brain’s energy supplier.

Tags: brain , brain microdialysis , stroke , brain probe , glucose

Elham Rostami MD, a neurosurgeon from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, actively encourages hospitals to adopt this innovative and already available technique. A 1 cm long dipstick inserted into the brain can check its energy levels by measuring the level of glucose. The probe could virtually measure almost any molecule, from which a glucose level directly indicates if there is a good blood supply. Two other indicator metabolites are lactate and pyruvate – byproducts of braking down glucose to the energy.

The approach needs a hole drilled in a skull to insert 0.6 mm diameter probe directly into brain tissue. Such tool would help to monitor the brain’s energy level in patients after stroke or severe head injuries, and facilitate fast rescue operation, even when there are no obvious symptoms of brain damage, such as bleedings.

Because the technique is quite new, its risks are not yet fully known, which could be a reason why the probe is still being used rather for research than in clinics. To minimize potential problems, it is generally placed on the right side of the brain, preventing from left side-related language skills and a control of body’s right side. So far, there is no sufficient data if such monitoring significantly improves survival rates.

Source: NewScientist

Monika Kossakowska-Zwierucho

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