Miscellaneous: New Biotech Breakthroughs about to change Medicine
The recent advances in the world of medicine have blurred the differences between biology and technology. Some of these examples are:
1) Decay-Fighting Microbes: Since, bacteria living on teeth transformsugar into lactic acid, which erodes the enamel and lead to tooth decay, a new bacterial strain, called SMaRT, has been bioengineered by Florida-based Company ONI BioPharma. The antibiotic released by SMaRT kills the natural decay-causing strain. One swabbing of SMaRT onto teeth would keep them healthy for a whole life.
2) Artificial Lymph Nodes: Doctors could fill the nodes with artificialversions of lymph node cells explicitly tuned to treat certain conditions, such as HIV or cancer.
3) Asthma Sensor: Asthma accounts for a quarter of all emergencyroom visits in the U.S., but a sensor developed at the University ofPittsburgh may finally cause that number to plummet. A handheld sensor is developed which is a polymer-coated carbon nanotube and 100,000 times thinner than a human hair. It analyzes breath for small amounts of nitric oxide as this gas is produced in prior to asthma attacks.
4) Cancer Spit Test: Researchers at the University of California, LosAngeles detect oral cancer from a single drop of saliva. Proteins associated with cancer cells respond with dyes on the sensor and emit fluorescent light, detectable by microscope.
5) Prosthetic Feedback: The prosthetic limbs are difficult to monitorbecause they can’t sense the position of limbs. Stanford University graduate student Karlin Bark is developing a device. It stretches the skin of amputee near the prosthesis in such a way that it provides feedback about the limb's position and movement.
6) Speech Restorer: Illinois-based Ambient Corporation has developeda device called phonetic speech engine for patients who have lost the ability to talk. Here, patients imagine slowly sounding out words; then this quarter-size device, located in a neck brace, transmits those impulses wirelessly to a computer or mobile phone and produces speech.
7) Muscle Stimulator: In the time it takes for broken bones to heal,nearby muscles often atrophy from lack of use. Israeli company StimuHeal has developed MyoSpare, a battery-operated device. It uses electrical stimulators to solve the problem of atrophy of muscles nearby broken bones. It facilitates the exercise of muscles and maintains them strong during recovery.
8) Nerve Regenerator: A nanogel developed at NorthwesternUniversity eliminates that impediment of growth of nerve fibres along the injured spinal cords.
9) Rocket-Powered Arm: Vanderbilt University scientist MichaelGoldfarb developed a power source: rocket propellant in prosthetic arm which can lift 20 pounds, three to four times more than current prosthetics. This power source is pencil-size version of the mono-propellant rocket-motor system used to move the space shuttle in orbit. H2O2 powers the prosthetic arm for 18 hours to perform normal activity. This has the potential to replace bulky battery packs required to add strength to prosthetic limbs.
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