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Improving hydrocephalus management through an implantable device

53 months
Approved budget:
Professor Simon Malpas
Health issue:
Human genetics and inherited/congenital conditions
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Imagine you are the parent of a child with water on the brain (hydrocephalus). A shunt catheter was surgically placed to divert excess fluid from the brain to the stomach meaning, rather than being a fatal condition, your child can lead a normal life…with one proviso; that the shunt continues to work. Unfortunately, 50% of shunts will fail within 2 years. The symptoms of early shunt failure, however, are often very similar to a simple headache or non-related infection, which necessitates many costly CT or MRI scans to resolve. Now a team of engineers and neurosurgeons at the University of Auckland want to remove that stress, reduce cost and radiation exposure and the likelihood of missing shunt malfunction by developing a tiny implant which will sense and wirelessly transmit the pressure & temperature inside a person's brain and the flow of fluid through the shunt.