Article: article from journal or magazin.
Review (review): journal as complete as possible of one specific subject, written based on exhaustive analyses from published work.
Artificial muscle: the human chimera is the future.
Swiss Medical Weekly
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't ; Review
Severe heart failure and cerebral stroke are broadly associated with the impairment of muscular function that conventional treatments struggle to restore. New technologies enable the construction of "smart" materials that could be of great help in treating diseases where the main problem is muscle weakness. These materials "behave" similarly to biological systems, because the material directly converts energy, for example electrical energy into movement. The extension and contraction occur silently like in natural muscles. The real challenge is to transfer this amazing technology into devices that restore or replace the mechanical function of failing muscle. Cardiac assist devices based on artificial muscle technology could envelope a weak heart and temporarily improve its systolic function, or, if placed on top of the atrium, restore the atrial kick in chronic atrial fibrillation. Artificial sphincters could be used to treat urinary incontinence after prostatectomy or faecal incontinence associated with stomas. Artificial muscles can restore the ability of patients with facial paralysis due to stroke or nerve injury to blink. Smart materials could be used to construct an artificial oesophagus including peristaltic movement and lower oesophageal sphincter function to replace the diseased oesophagus thereby avoiding the need for laparotomy to mobilise stomach or intestine. In conclusion, in the near future, smart devices will integrate with the human body to fill functional gaps due to organ failure, and so create a human chimera.
Animals, Artificial Organs, Biomimetics, Heart Failure/therapy, Heart-Assist Devices, Humans, Muscle Weakness/therapy, Muscles, Polymers, Urinary Sphincter, Artificial
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