The invention of the 3-D printer that happened nearly 30 years ago has led to many life-saving discoveries, including the discovery of 3-D printed blood vessels. In Beijing, China, scientists are testing these printed blood vessels on rhesus monkeys, monkeys that are native to Southern Asia. This experiment has brought hope to the 1.8 billion people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases, diseases that cause abnormal heart conditions, are caused by a number of different factors. Sometimes heart related issues are hereditary, but others are caused by lifestyle including smoking, drug abuse, obesity, and stress. The right side of the heart delivers blood to the lungs, which refreshes the blood with oxygen once you’ve inhaled oxygen. The oxygen rich blood then enters the left side of the heart and pumps the blood to the rest of the body. Cardiovascular diseases cause the vessels around the heart to tighten, allowing less blood to flow to the heart. This is bad for the body because having less blood flow to your body means the cells aren’t getting enough oxygen or nutrients that are carried through the blood.
James Kang, the CEO of Sichuan Revotek (the company who invented the 3-D printed blood vessels) says they are the “the first to have maintained the viability of the cells with the 3-D printing technology." The success of this experiment to transplant printed blood vessels into a rhesus monkey was due to the biological material Sichuan Revotek created. They called it Bio-Ink which is made from stem cells from fat tissue in the rhesus monkey. Because stem cells have the ability to grow into any cell in the body, the immune system wouldn’t be able to reject the body’s own stem cells. Therefore the monkey’s immune system wouldn’t be able to reject the printed blood vessels if their own stem cells were used in it. Kang also claims that the stem cells from the fat tissue are safer to use than stem cells from an embryo.
Fungus can control ants’ brains.
And it is not a lie.
Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis is a parasitic fungus that has the capability to control an ant’s mind. Thankfully, this brain-washing fungus is not dangerous to us, as our skin is thick enough to repel its parasitic properties. However, these poor ants that come in contact with the fungus do not last long; once eaten, the fungus grows on the ants from the inside out. Generally, the fungus does not damage its host unless that host is the fungi’s preferred host. In other words, if the fungus likes where it is staying, it will release a group of chemical fluids to manipulate the brain of their host. Now, this fungus will not affect the majority of all ants because not all ants are alike. It only preys upon a specific species. All of the other species have different fungi to deal with.
When an ant is infected, its brain-releasing chemicals that fight back again. Yet, these chemicals don’t do much. Once the fungi has the opportunity to hijack the ant’s nervous system, the fungi has complete control over the ant’s body. In this case, the fungi makes the ant eat vegetation so the ant can finish its life cycle, giving the fungi nutrients as well. Then, a lateral sprout pops out of the ant’s head, made by the fungi to infect other ants on the ground below.
Obviously, this insane fungus is unable to affect us humans; however, the research being done has made discoveries of certain chemicals that may be responsible for neural disabilities in humans. Thus, these zombie ants may actually save hundreds of human lives while it is continuously killing ant species. Crazy.
Since 2011, the island of Oahu has had an outbreak of a disease called Dengue (DENG-gey) fever. Dengue fever is a disease transmitted by two types of mosquitos: Aedes aegypto and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Both are found in Hawaii. In September 2015, there have been over 117 cases of Dengue fever. Dengue fever has hit the majority of the locals in Oahu. Out of the 117 cases, 103 of them were reports from the locals. 29 reports are of children under the age of 18.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-born disease. Dengue fever is also a hemorrhagic fever. A hemorrhagic fever is a type fever that causes uncontrollable bleeding inside the body. Symptoms of Dengue are fevers as high as 106℉ (41℃), headaches, muscle, bone and joint pain, pain behind your eyes, widespread rash, nausea and vomiting, rarely, minor bleeding from the gums or nose. These symptoms happen 4-10 days after the disease is transmitted. Other side effects can be fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, and abdominal pain.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is trying to locate the mosquitos and review the situation. They are also trying to collect the mosquitos to get valuable information, such as a cure. Despite the panic the outbreak has caused, the mosquitos that transmit the disease only live in wet and warm places. When the wet season is over in Hawaii, authorities are hoping that the mosquitos will go away.
Only a quarter of the people who have Dengue experience the symptoms. In other words, only a quarter of the people who were bitten are considered ill. The rest of the “victims” do not show symptoms of Dengue. Last month, the state of Hawaii released a campaign to raise awareness of Dengue Fever.
Dengue Fever has an estimated 390 million cases each year, with 3.9 billion people in 128 at risk. The fever continues to kill thousands of people. CDC suggests Hawaiian citizens to wear repellent, long sleeves, and to stay inside their homes.
Published on 2/17/16
3-D Printer Could Change Future of Surgery
By Elizabeth Addesso
Four-year-old Mia Gonzalez had trouble breathing for the first three and a half years of her life. She missed out on daily activities such as dance and preschool, due to frequent colds and pneumonia. She was hospitalized ten times before doctors concluded that Mia suffered from a malformation in her aorta, one of the vessels that pumps blood into the heart. It turned out that her aorta was blocking part of her windpipe, therefore, making it hard to breath. Mia would have to undergo an open heart surgery, one of the hardest surgeries to perform.
"...A disruptive technology which radically changes how we talk to patients, how we prepare for an operation, how we do the operation and how we teach," Dr. Daniel B. Jones stated about the printers. 3-D printers were invented in 1984, but the usage of these extraordinary printers was common in 2012. 3-D printers are unique machines that can print any object programed on a computer. They range from about anywhere from $100k to $450k; the cost varies depending on the quality of the printing. Hospitals use 3-D printers to print replicas of organs and hearts. They use the replicas to perform a practice surgery and to make precise marks on where to cut. In this case, they replicated Mia heart, after taking careful MRI and CT, or a CAT scan (a scan used to see bones, blood, and vessels, and soft tissues by sending a series of X-rays to a computer) to get a detailed picture of Mia’s heart and windpipe. They used the replication to practice her surgery.
They were originally going to cut Mia’s left side of her chest, creating a long narrow scar on the left side. However, the longer cut would also mean a longer recovery time. By using the advanced technology of a 3-D printer, they relocated the cut to the right side of Mia’s chest. The incision was predicted to be much smaller than the previous incision scheduled. The recovery time would be much shorter, pleasing both Mia and her mom.
In the future, they envision using the printer to replicate organs that would replace the human organs completely. However, they do not think this technological advancement will be made until 2025. Doctors are also trying to distribute 3-D printers to medical schools to enhance their medical field curriculum.
Years later after Mia’s open heart surgery, she suffered from less colds. She still got colds, but they were not nearly as severe. But more importantly, she performed her first successful dance recital, and was not short of breath at the end. Thanks to the 3-D printer, her open heart surgery proved how the printer is making surgeries easier.
What amazes me is that the human body can react so quickly and think deeply and do stuff you can’t even imagine. Science of the world is beautiful and what also amazes me is that how many things come from science and how things and objects are made and what things and objects are made up of. Basically everything starts with the science that comes from inside everything. Bottom line: SCIENCE IS EVERYTHING.
What amazes me about science is that everything is connected in some way. If it is the body and all the bones, nerves and muscles or the food chain with the predators, prey, decomposers and producers. I know that everything living lives off of something else and so one thing can’t survive without the other. This amazes me because the life of everything goes around in one gigantic circle!
What amazes me about the human body is how our brain works for very movement and we never think about it. It amazes me that a girl can survive with half a brain. It is amazing that everything is made out of atoms. I find it mind-boggling that we are in the middle of space all alone for all we know. How can giant spheres just be dangling in nowhere while we are sitting here at school? This is what I find amazing.