Ultrasound Needles

The same thing doctors use to monitor a fetus in the womb may one day bring you pain-free insulin injections.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been able to inject three kinds of medicine into cadavers using ultrasound. The scientists have been able to increase the skin’s permeability with low frequency ultrasound.

The scientists hope to begin trials on the living within six months, according to MIT chemical and biomedical engineer Robert Langer.

The first application of the technology would be in doctors offices, where vaccinations and allergy shots are routinely given. Langer has also adapted the small ultrasound machines found in high-tech toothbrushes.

“You can take the miniature ultrasound part of the toothbrush and put it into a skin patch the size of a nicotine patch or maybe a little thicker,” he explained.

Patches may be superior to traditional needles since they might deliver insulin at a steadier, slower rate in response to signals from the body.

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