3D printed body parts for transplant

Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is developing techniques to 3D print human organs for transplant using an individual's own cells as the "ink." That way, the transplanted organ won't trigger the patient's immune system to reject it as a foreign body. From National Geographic:

(For example,) to create an ear, the printer lays down a pliable, porous scaffold made of hydrogel, a kind of polymer. The scaffold is covered with skin cells and cartilage cells, which grow and fill in the ear-shaped form. The hydrogel eventually biodegrades; after about six months the ear is composed entirely of human cells.

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Placing other people's poop in your person is a piss-poor plan

I can't believe I have to write this, but maybe jamming other people's shit up your ass isn't a great idea.

When done by medical professions, under very specific circumstances, a fecal transplant can mean the difference between life and death: implanting feces containing healthy gut microbiome into a patient's body has been used by doctors as a way to help fight antibiotic-resistant super bugs, like Clostridium difficile.  A lot of folks online have been blathering away about how research shows that the same sort of treatment could also act as a cure for obesity. As reported by The Guardian, on hearing this news, people are now shoveling other people's crap into their bodies without a doctor's supervision.

What's the problem, you say? Well, before the treatment is administered in a clinical setting, the fecal matter used is screened for disease and other nasties in an effort to make the transplant as safe as possible. Without proper screening, the risk of transferring diseases like Hepititus or HIV from one poo owner to another is pretty high. Additionally, a DIY fecal transplant conducted in the name of losing weight could have the opposite effect. A case study from a few years back illustrated that a woman who underwent a fecal transplant to deal with a drug resistant super bug ended up becoming obese as a result. Oops.

So, if you're feel that you could stand to lose a few pounds, take a look at your eating habits, exercise more or visit a doctor for help in losing weight before reaching for a bag of liquefied shit. Read the rest

A single injection of this one-dose medicine costs $850,000

Luxturna is a gene therapy drug to treat a hereditary blindness. The FDA approved it last month, and the one-dose treatment costs $850,000.

From Oddity Central:

Spark Therapeutics, the company releasing the drug, had initially planned to sell Luxturna for 1 million USD but lowered the price after health insurers expressed concern over their ability to cover the cost of the injectable treatment. Despite the small drop in price, Luxturna is still significantly more expensive than almost every other medication on the global market, including two separate gene therapy treatments approved last year by the FDA. Luxturna is the first gene therapy that treats an inherited condition. It has proven to improve vision for those with a rare form of inherited blindness that is estimated to affect less than 2,000 people in the US.

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3D printing bacteria to clean up toxic chemicals or make band-aids that heal

ETH Zurich researchers developed a "living ink" for 3D printers that's made from bacteria, nutrients, and a polymer gel. In a small scale demonstration, they printed a small 3D lattice of the material that cleaned up a beaker of contaminated water. From Science News:

Lattices packing various types of chemical-hungry bacteria could create special water filters or help clean up oil spills. And unlike free-floating bacteria, cells locked in a 3-D grid could be plucked out of cleaned-up water and reused somewhere else....

Bacteria-filled 3-D prints could also produce bacterial cellulose — a gelatinous substance used for dressing wounds. Bacterial cellulose is typically grown in sheets, but “imagine if you have a burn on your elbow,” (materials scientist Manuel) Schaffner says. “You try to wrap flat, wet tissue around this area, it’s prone to detach.” Swathes of cellulose grown on 3-D printed structures could precisely match the contours of specific body parts, curbing the risk of contaminants getting trapped under wrinkles in the cellulose or the material peeling off.

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Go and get the new shingles vaccine: it works

My grandmother's longtime partner Rusty was a former weightlifter with the sunniest, most reslient disposition of anyone I've known, and the only time I ever saw him reduced to tears was from the pain of a bout of shingles; now a new shingles vaccine called Shingrix has proven almost miraculously effective against the virus (which nearly every person who lives to 80 will suffer from) with a notable lack of downsides. If you're over 50, you should go get it right now. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

11th-century herbal remedy guide now digitized and online

The British Library has scanned an anthology of herbal remedies published in the 11th century. It was translated to Old English and illustrated throughout from an original Latin document attributed to the 4th-century scholar Pseudo-Apuleius. Read the rest

Nanomachines drill through cancer cells and kill them

Researchers demonstrated single-molecule nanomachines that can target diseased cells and then kill them by drilling through the cell membrane. Developed by a team at Rice University, Durham University (UK), and North Carolina State University, the single-molecule nanomotors are about one-billionth of a meter wide and spin at 2 to 3 million rotations per second. They're activated by ultraviolet light and could also be used to deliver drug treatment into the cells. From Rice:

“These nanomachines are so small that we could park 50,000 of them across the diameter of a human hair, yet they have the targeting and actuating components combined in that diminutive package to make molecular machines a reality for treating disease,” Tour said...

The researchers found it takes at least a minute for a motor to tunnel through a membrane. “It is highly unlikely that a cell could develop a resistance to molecular mechanical action,” Tour said.

Pal expects nanomachines will help target cancers like breast tumors and melanomas that resist existing chemotherapy. “Once developed, this approach could provide a potential step change in noninvasive cancer treatment and greatly improve survival rates and patient welfare globally,” he said...

The Pal lab at Durham tested motors on live cells, including human prostate cancer cells. Experiments showed that without an ultraviolet trigger, motors could locate specific cells of interest but stayed on the targeted cells’ surface and were unable to drill into the cells. When triggered, however, the motors rapidly drilled through the membranes.

"Molecular machines open cell membranes" (Nature)

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As bacteria build fortresses, scientists seek weak points for attacks

Bacteria are extremely adept at building biofilm cities, often in places humans don't want them: catheters, sewer lines, and our teeth, to name a few. Now scientists are working to unlock the structural mysteries in order to eradicate unwanted bacterial buildup. Read the rest

Placebos work even when you know they don't contain medicine

A review of five studies, involving 260 patients, published last month found that 'open-label' placebos – those that patients know contain no active medication – can improve symptoms in a range of conditions," reports The Guardian.

One Harvard Medical School study gave placebos to 80 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Thirty seven patients were told they were being given placebo pills and 43 were given no treatment. Those receiving the placebo had "significantly greater scores than the no-treatment control on the main outcome measure, Global Improvement Scale."

In another study "chronic lower back pain patients openly given dummy pills to add to their existing treatments reported an average 30% pain reduction." The other three open placebo studies "reported reduced symptoms for depression, lower back pain, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder."

Why do placebos work? The Guardian lists three possibilities: Patients who have had positive experiences with doctors might have "subconscious boosts to levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters," making them feel better. When patients are told that placebos are effective, it could result in "a conscious expectation of improvements, resulting in chemical releases that relieve their symptoms." The embodied cognition effect: "the possibility of improvement can trigger subconscious signals to pass between different parts of the body, resulting in chemical releases that alleviate symptoms." Read the rest

Sperm extraction machine yours for $13,000

A Chinese company developed a human sperm extraction machine for use in hospitals and other settings where human sperm may be required on the spot, but where conservative social norms or embarrassment make "while they wait" masturbation a difficult proposition.

The Jiangsu Sanwe Medical Science and Technology Center says their device, which has been sold to clinics in the US, Germany, Russia and France, simulates the temperature and feel of the female sexual organ, and is the most user friendly way of collecting samples for sperm donation or for those needing fertility advice. Jim Drury reports.

Reuters reports about 10,000 of the $13,000 devices are sold annually. The SW-3701 sperm collector's official product page reveals technical parameters, among other things.

It can simulate vaginal environment, through massage, twitching, sucking, vibration, etc., act upon the human penis, which can make semen collection fast and safe. So it is the best clinical equipment of sperm collection.

Premature ejaculation desensitization training

The strong currents impact and rub the glans penis repeatedly in order to reduce the excitability of nerve endings so as to passivate external nerve of glans penis, sulcus coronarius, and the surface of the penis, and regulate the sex nerve center in order to minimize nerve sensitivity, improve ejaculatory threshold to treat premature ejaculation.

4) Technical Parameters 1.Massage frequency: 0-1.5Hz 2.Motion frequency: 0-2.5Hz

Packaging Details

wooden or as you request 2 wooden cases

[Thanks, Liam!] Read the rest

Working model of female reproductive system has first period

The EVATAR is a working model of a reproductive system made from a mouse ovary and bits of a human uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, and liver. Developed by Northwestern University researcher Teresa Woodruff and her colleagues, the EVATAR is intended to help better test the effects of medicines and toxins on women. And now it's completed its first full menstrual cycle. From National Geographic:

The tissues produced hormones that coursed through the miniature reproductive system, their levels rising and falling over 28 days.

Eventually, multiple synthetic systems could be linked up to essentially create a “human in a dish,” some researchers hope, reducing the need to experiment directly on people or animals.

And scientists hope such devices could one day use a patient’s own tissues to tailor treatments to an individual. Woodruff imagines a future in which a person’s medical care might be tailored using a series of personalized avatar devices as their own metabolism changes through the years.

“I think the future of women’s health is bright,” (Woodruff) says.

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The daring doctors experimenting with psychedelic medicines

Rolling Stone's Mac McClelland tells the story of the physicians bravely breaking the law by treating patients with MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, and other hallucinogens. From RS:

As an internal-medicine specialist, Dr. X doesn't have any patients who come to him seeking psychotherapy. But the longer he does the work, the more "I'm seeing that consciousness correlates to disease," he says. "Every disease." Narcolepsy. Cataplexy. Crohn's. Diabetes – one patient's psychedelic therapy preceded a 30 percent reduction in fasting blood-sugar levels. Sufferers of food allergies discover in their journeys that they've been internally attacking themselves. "Consciousness is so vastly undervalued," Dr. X says. "We use it in every other facet in our life and esteem the intellectual part of it, but deny the emotional or intuitive part of it." Psychedelic therapy "reinvigorated my passion and belief in healing. I think it's the best tool to achieving well-being, so I feel morally and ethically compelled to open up that space."...

"If we didn't have some idea about the potential importance of these medicines, we wouldn't be researching them," says Dr. Jeffrey Guss, psychiatry professor at NYU Medical Center and co-investigator of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project. "Their value has been written about and is well known from thousands of years of recorded history, from their being used in religious and healing settings. Their potential and their being worthy of exploration and study speaks for itself."

Optimistic insiders think that if all continues to go well, within 10 to 15 years some psychedelics could be legally administrable to the public, not just for specific conditions but even for personal growth.

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Superbugs are being fuelled by imaginary penicillin allergies

Lots of people think they're allergic to penicillin, but aren't -- so when they have infections, doctors are obliged to skip the front-line drugs, which accelerates the pace of antibiotic resistance in common bacteria. Read the rest

Thinnest-ever electronic tattoos are capable of precision health monitoring

The graphene temporary tattoo seen here is the thinnest epidermal electronic device ever and according to the University of Texas at Austin researchers who developed it, the device can take some medical measurements as accurately as bulky wearable sensors like EKG monitors. From IEEE Spectrum:

Graphene’s conformity to the skin might be what enables the high-quality measurements. Air gaps between the skin and the relatively large, rigid electrodes used in conventional medical devices degrade these instruments’ signal quality. Newer sensors that stick to the skin and stretch and wrinkle with it have fewer airgaps, but because they’re still a few micrometers thick, and use gold electrodes hundreds of nanometers thick, they can lose contact with the skin when it wrinkles. The graphene in the Texas researchers’ device is 0.3-nm thick. Most of the tattoo’s bulk comes from the 463-nm-thick polymer support.

The next step is to add an antenna to the design so that signals can be beamed off the device to a phone or computer, says (electrical engineer Deji) Akinwande.

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Insiders: America's largest chain of psych hospitals kidnaps people seeking care, drugs and holds them until they're out of insurance

Universal Health Services (UHS) is the largest chain of psychiatric facilities in the USA, with 2.5x more beds than its closest competitor, and dozens of whistleblowers from inside the company told a Buzzfeed reporter that they were pressured to find pretenses to lock up people who voluntarily presented for assessments, holding them against their will until their insurance ran out, with massive bonuses for executives who increased profits (and much smaller bonuses for execs who improved health outcomes for patients). Read the rest

Psychedelics can treat anxiety and depression, but there's a catch

Jan Hoffman writes about recent research into the effects on psychedelics such as psilocybin on anxiety and depression: "About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose."

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and Dr. Daniel Shalev of the New York State Psychiatric Institute are among leaders in psychiatry, addiction medicine and palliative care who endorsed the work. The studies, they wrote, are “a model for revisiting criminalized compounds of interest in a safe, ethical way.”

If research restrictions could be eased, they continued, “there is much potential for new scientific insights and clinical applications.”

Although cancer patients will not have access to therapeutically administered psilocybin anytime soon, the findings add vigor to applications to expand research in a multicenter trial with hundreds of participants.

Moreover, there are few side effects. But there is a catch: the experiences must be rigorously contextualized, written down, analyzed, etc.

Dr. Griffiths noted that patients received extensive support, which may have deepened and secured their life-affirming transformations.

“People will take psilocybin at a rave or at Burning Man” — the art and performance desert festival — “but the effect,” he said, “evaporates like water running through their hands.”

Set and setting and settlement. Read the rest

DIY Epipen: the $30 Epipencil

Mylan, the company with a monopoly on FDA-improved epinephrine auto-injectors ("epipens") has quintupled the price of their life-saving technology since 2004, to $600/unit (and they have the be thrown out and replaced every year); for this, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch (daughter of US senator Joe Manchin, who secured her initial job interview through political connections while he was Governor of West Virginia, moving her laterally from her gig as an aerobics instructor) received a 671% raise , bringing her compensation up to $18,931,068. Read the rest

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