A bibliometric analysis of the use of biomimetic silk conduits for treating peripheral nerve injuries
(1) Newport High School, Bellevue, Washington, (2) University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Peripheral nerves are critical because they function as a relay between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body. However, because the peripheral nervous system is not protected by bones, it is vulnerable to injuries. Severe peripheral nerve injuries (PNIs) are categorized by the presence of nerve gaps – spaces between two ends of a transected nerve. Common treatments for such injuries are nerve grafts or synthetic conduits, but these treatments have various limitations which have led to research into the development of silk conduits for PNIs. In order to examine this novel research field, we employed a bibliometric analysis, a form of analysis where statistical methods are used to interpret previously collected data. We created and applied a 3-analysis method that provided both quantitative and qualitative information. The methodology was developed to answer our three research questions: 1) How has the field of peripheral nerve regeneration conduit research, and its subfields, grown in the past 20 years? 2) What are previous successful and unsuccessful approaches? 3) What are possible areas for future studies? The growth analysis we conducted showed a clear increase in total number of papers published about conduits per year, especially for silk conduits. Our analysis also revealed that silk conduits performed almost as well as nerve grafts and identified some promising properties for further in vivo testing, including biocompatibility, biodegradability and the ability to bridge any length of gap.
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