September 23rd, 2011
02:06 PM ET

TEDMED: Fixing the brain with super glue

Super glue: It's good for mending shoe insoles and drawer handles, but how about the human body? Don't try this at home, but doctors can actually use the medical-grade version of this material for fixing certain tiny malfunctions in the brain.

Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, professor of radiology, neurology, and neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine the Bronx, New York, has helped pioneer innovative treatments in many areas of medicine such as this one.

As he explains in this TEDMED lecture, super glue can be used in a treatment for a rare condition called vein of Galen malformation (named after ancient Greek physician Galen). Using a microcatheter, a small tube less than 1 millimeter across, the glue is injected to seal off the short circuit between an artery and a vein. Berenstein and colleagues have treated 250 kids with this condition, and in most cases, they’ve successfully returned the children to normal.

Berenstein discussed this and other cutting-edge techniques in the field of vascular medicine at TEDMED in October.

TEDMED is an annual event that brings together dozens of luminaries from a variety of fields to "demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and health care related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital." TEDMED 2010 took place from October 26 to 29 in San Diego, California.

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