A new device that detects and releases dopamine in the human brain

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The Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering - Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT) group has developed a new device that can detect the level of dopamine in the human brain and, at the same time, release the required dose progressively, depending on the patient’s requirements. Through an app and a Wi-Fi connection, the process can be monitored on a mobile phone.


 

A hydrogel has been developed (a polymer network that can absorb high volumes of water containing excipients, used as a vector for supplying drugs), which can incorporate dopamine into its structure. Dopamine plays a vital role in various degenerative diseases that can be alleviated by controlled supply of the product.

Once the hydrogel has been synthesised in optimum conditions so that it can carry out the functions of incorporation and subsequent release of dopamine, a seriographed carbon electrode is added, modified with a coating obtained electrochemically. This sensor can detect existing levels of dopamine, which can be transmitted to a mobile application and monitored in real time. In addition, the sensor is selective in the presence of interferents such as glucose, uric acid and ascorbic acid.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced in various areas of the brain, particularly in the grey matter and the ventral tegmental area. Among other factors, it affects behaviour, movement, mood, reward, hormone inhibition, sleep, attention and learning. This device will help to control the levels of dopamine in the treatment of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

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