Week2: Nanotechnology improves medical imaging rapidly

Watching the complex processes in a living cell, it is extremely difficult to observe the tiny change because the resolution is low. But new research makes it possible to scruinize activities that occur over hours or even days inside cells, potentially solving many of the mysteries associated with molecular-scale events occurring in these tiny living things.

ImageHuman red blood cells

A joint research team, working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has discovered a method of using nanoparticles to illuminate the cellular interior to reveal these slow processes. Nanoparticles, thousands of times smaller than a cell, have a variety of applications. One type of nanoparticle called a quantum dot glows when exposed to light. These semiconductor particles can be coated with organic materials, which are tailored to be attracted to specific proteins within the part of a cell a scientist wishes to examine.

Overall, nanotechnology can potentially improve the medical imaging a lot. It leads the researchers to find more mysterious thing inside cell. And even observe every tiny changes of a cell over a short period of time thus enhance the medical judgement.

Reference: http://www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=14714

Week 1:Artificial Organs improve by the day

An artificial organ is a man-made device that is implanted or integrated into a human to replace a natural organ, for the purpose of restoring a specific function or a group of related functions so the patient may return to as normal a life as possible. The replaced function doesn’t necessarily have to be related to life support, but often is.

In nowadays technology, there are many organs getting better and have a mature techniques to implant into patients body.

In here, I will focus on 2 artificial organs.

1. Hands

Nowadays: The prosthetic limb picks up electrical impulses from remaining muscle fibers on the arm, transmitting those impulses to articulating fingers and a thumb. The drawback is that the cost is very high.
Future: Researchers are working on permanently implanting an artificial hand directly to the bone in the arm, reduce the pain causes to the patient.

2. Eye
Nowadays: There are no eye implanting surgery for patient who get eye diseases.
Future: People work on investigating to build a mini camera into the head. Taking videos, infrared vision, panning and zooming, night vision and telescopic vision will be possible.

Here are 2 clips of video showing artificial eye and hand.

Reference : http://www.dvice.com/archives/2010/03/turn_yourself_i.php – 5 artificial organs getting better by the day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_organ – Artificial organ