Week4: The most advanced microscope ever

Microscope can help human to have a closer look into an object. Especially for the objects that are too small for the naked eyes. The conventional microscopes are the optical one. The principle is magnifying image by lens. But nowadays, when scientists have to investigate objects down to nanometer and picometer, they cannot use optical microscopes. The electron microscope is used instead to avoid the diffract of light.

The most advanced microscope, Scanning Transmission Electron Holography Microscope. It is 7-tonne, 4.5-metre tall. The STEHM is a one-of-a-kind machine built for UVic in Japan by Hitachi High Technologies Canada and is the highest-resolution microscope in the world. It will allow researchers to see things 20 million times smaller than the tiniest thing the unaided human eye can see.

the STEHM uses an electron beam and holography techniques to observe the inside of materials and their surfaces to an expected resolution smaller than the size of an atom. Standard high-resolution microscopes have about 20 lenses for imaging the specimen, the STEHM has 50. The microscope is so sensitive that its image could be affected by little more than a passing cloud. For this reason, it is housed in a special self-contained, extra-tall room that is anchored to bedrock and encased in eight inches of insulation sandwiched between layers of galvanized steel.

This microscope is undoubtedly wonderful for scientists, medical researchers can use it to have better understand subatomic structures relevant to medical diagnostics.

STEHM

Reference:

http://ring.uvic.ca/news/world%E2%80%99s-most-advanced-microscope-here

Week3: 3-D printing are able to ”print” organs

3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction (AEC), industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, and more importantly, biotech.

For some patient who got organ failure, they have hope on 3D printing. It is because scientists have been printed kidney, and it could survive for 1 day. Further research is needed in order to implant the 3D printed human organs into patients.

In some sense 3D printing organs can resolve the ethics issue raised from implanting animal organs or organs cloning. Implanting animal organs have potential hazard that it may cause unpredictable diseases. Moreover, human who have been implanted animal organs may have a chance to be discriminated by others. On the other hand, 3D printing organs will not bring ethic issue that have just stated.

3D printing organ

Reference:

3D printing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing

Picture: http://www.singularityweblog.com/3d-printing-is-bio-printing-the-future-of-organ-replacement/

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