The sleek blue-and-white device created by biomedical engineering graduate student George K. Lewis slips into a pocket and sends ultrasound waves deep into muscles via a coin-sized polystyrene pad. This is the transducer, which converts electrical energy into ultrasound.
Since first publishing research about his pocket-sized devices in 2007, Lewis has continued to improve them, making them smaller and more efficient. To give the systems medical legitimacy, Lewis has prepared the first clinical trial. The study will focus on osteoarthritis patients to determine whether the devices can significantly reduce joint pain.
Ultrasound is often used to relieve muscle and joint pain but requires patients to receive treatments in doctors’ and physical therapists’ offices. Lewis’ mini-machine would allow people to receive such treatment at home and work. Even though medications are the primary way to treat pain in older patients, with age comes increased risk of complications. Therefore, there is a “great need” to support research into non-drug therapies for pain, the researchers say.
The latest prototype sends low-intensity energy in the form of ultrasound waves from the transducer into the body, which is gentle enough to be kept close to the skin for up to ten hours, according to the researchers.
MEDICA.de; Source: Cornell University