Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Tech Videos

Brain clots meet their match with robot needle

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 - 03:03

April 10 - Surgeons may soon have a new tool for treating patients with dangerous blood clots in the brain - a robotic needle that will suck the clot free without harming healthy tissue around it. As Ben Gruber reports, the robot's developers are taking a novel approach to replicating the human brain for their experiments.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

It's a popular desert made from gelatin, but for scientists at Vanderbilt University, it's also proving to be the ideal medium for testing a highly sophisticated robot, a steerable needle called the Active Cannula. The needle is designed to navigate through the brain to reach and remove potentially fatal blood clots, leaving the surrounding tissue intact. Engineer Robert Webster says he was inspired to design the steerable needle, when his father developed a brain clot. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT WEBSTER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "I was interested in that medical problem because of that and he was lucky, he was one of the ones that survived and didn't have brain damage." But according to neurosurgeon Kyle Weaver many people aren't so lucky. Diseases like hypertension and diabetes that are associated with blood clots, are on the rise and Weaver says that currently 1 in 50 people will develop a clot in their lifetime and of those, 40 percent will either die or develop brain damage. And once a blood clot forms in the brain, Weaver says there is very little a surgeon can do to remove it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KYLE WEAVER, NEUROSURGEON, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Often times based on the anatomy and the way the blood vessels are configured and these disease processes, they are often times deep down in the brain. And the thought is that getting those is that the surgery is actually going to do more damage than the blood clot is on its own." That's where the needle robot comes in. It comprises a series of curved flexible metal tubes controlled by a computer. Webster says that neurosurgeons will be able to scan a patient's brain and the computer will then map the most efficient route to the clot while using its flexible tubes to navigate around delicate brain matter. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT WEBSTER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Then the doctor would just hit go and the robot would do that. It would remove all of the stuff inside the boundary that the doctor drew and nothing else that is outside the boundary." Webster says his team is looking into other tools that could attach to the robot such as an ultrasonic tip or a tiny grasper that will break up the clot before suctioning it out. Kyle Weaver says that type of additional ability could have a huge impact on the way neurosurgeons deal with brain tumours in hard to reach places as well. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KYLE WEAVER, NEUROSURGEON, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "There a lots of nooks and crannies and airspace's, meaning the sinuses at the base of the brain and there a number of ways that we can navigate through the head, if you will, to get to these deep seeded tumours around very important structures. But the problem is that the corridor or the space that we operate through is very small so, it limits our ability to introduce or use the common tools." Webster says there are still many trials and a long regulatory process ahead, before his robot needles debut in operating rooms, but he is confident that when they do, they will save lives.

Brain clots meet their match with robot needle

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 - 03:03

Top News »

Investing 201 »

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

The better bond funds The better bond funds

Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - (2:40)

Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks

Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - (2:24)

Invest like an activist Invest like an activist

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - (2:49)

Money Clip »

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

“Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip “Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - (2:50)

3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip 3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - (1:33)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)