Bizarre Medical Stories; 2017 Will Be The Year Of Synthetic Biology
We’re calling it now; the writing is on the wall for medicine as we know it. If you’ve been paying attention, you know. Reports cover more and more research on using substances from the natural world to create cures.
These aren’t substances buried in the Amazon. They’re things from the world around us, bacterium, the web of a spider or your own earwax, all reengineered to perform a new task.
It reads remarkably similar to the discovery of penicillin as if all the answers to our problems have been in front of our faces the whole time. No doubt, this is an exciting time for medical science.
It’s also time for some us to share some bizarre medical news from around the world.
The scope of news for your January edition of bizarre medical news is too wide to capture in a single thesis, so we’ll just hand it over to you as we found it. Enjoy.
Sell Your Earwax To Nasa As Mars Rover Lubricant[caption id="attachment_4828" align="aligncenter"] (source: clearearinc.com)[/caption]
While that may sound like the perfect solution to all your financial woes, don’t count your chickens yet. Earwax, as was discovered by Alexis Noel a doctoral student at Georgia IT, is a unique but universal substance.
Across many species, the formula is roughly the same. It is as viscous as molasses when left alone, but under force, it moves quickly. These types of substances we call non-Newtonian, shear thinning fluids.
The application of what we know about them could prove useful in lubricating machinery in space. These shear thinning fluids serve many purposes. For machinery they could keep out dust and water while lubricating movement.
The ideal scenario for these proposed machines of the future is a system that would replace the ear’s process of generating new wax as it moves out the old dirty wax.
Source: Science Daily
Antibiotic Spider Silk[caption id="attachment_4832" align="alignnone"] (source: sciencedaily.com)[/caption]
A chemist and spider walk into a lab…
Scientists at Nottingham University have discovered that they can tailor spider silk to deliver medicine for many purposes, including wound-healing. They accomplish this by attaching molecules of antibiotics to synthetic spider webbing.
To further twist the plot of this research, they generate the synthetic silk using E.coli bacteria.
At present, their research produces silk that releases the medicine over a period of five days. This means they can control healing with slow-wounds.
There is a duplicate benefit to using silk as the structure accelerates healing by acting as a biodegradable scaffold for tissue growth.
Source: Science Daily
Stem Cells Restore Eyesight To Blind Mice[caption id="attachment_4836" align="aligncenter"] (source: earth-chronicles.com)[/caption]
The promise of stems cells was once so great, one could imagine a future where body parts could be grown in labs for endless life extension. Perhaps, but our progress with stem cell research is plodding.
In one lab, however, scientists recently restored partial eyesight to lab rats by transplanting the stem cells that sense light. Those new cells rewired the connection to the brain, facilitating sight in the rats.
The results were better than expected, restoring not only the rats’ ability to see light but make out shapes and movement. The prospective application for humans is in patients with retinal degeneration, which affects almost 200-million people worldwide.
Source: Live Science
16 Surgeries; Tree Man Can Finally Hold His Baby[caption id="attachment_4839" align="aligncenter"] (source: ndtv.com)[/caption]
This one is a little off the theme, but strange, so worthy of mention.
No stranger to the press, Abul Bajander, recently underwent 16 surgeries to remove tree-like warts from his hands.
Bajander originally ignored the warts growing on his body as he thought they were harmless. Over time they grew to the point he couldn’t work or hold his child.
Past surgeries have helped, but with this most recent battery of surgeries, Doctors intended to restore his hand function completely.
As of this month, according to NDTV, doctors had removed most of the warts, only needing to shape his hands a little better before releasing Bajander.
Bacteria; The New Sunscreen[caption id="attachment_4842" align="aligncenter"] (source: sciencedaily.com)[/caption]
Cyanobacteria, an extreme form of bacteria, have been known to survive in harsh, arid conditions. Because of this, they produce compounds that make them resistant to UV radiation and dryness.
These compounds in the bacteria, which screen a broad spectrum of UV waves, make them ideal for use in cosmetic or sunscreens. It doesn’t hurt that these same bacteria retain moisture, something beneficial to these same products.
Don’t let it surprise you when you see the words “now with hydrating bacteria” on your next cosmetic purchase.
Source: Alpha Galileo
Brain Tumor? Try Some Salmonella[caption id="attachment_4845" align="aligncenter"] (source: beaumont.edu)[/caption]
If you’ve ever suffered food poisoning, just the mention of salmonella is enough to turn your stomach. If you’ve never heard of salmonella, don’t confuse this bacteria with the delicious fish served in fine restaurants.
Salmonella is nothing like salmon. In its ingested form, it will leave you camped out in the bathroom for days.
Doctors at Duke University (North Carolina, USA) have figured out how to reprogram those bacteria to attack one of the worst forms of cancer; glioblastoma.
Initial results in lab rats indicate complete remission in some cases. Results from the Duke study appeared online on December 21, 2016, in the journal Molecular Therapy.
Medshop Australia is in the business of medical equipment, but if we were investment advisors, we'd tell you to put all your money bioengineering bacteria. This is where the future of medical research lives. Although somewhat bizarre at times, this is a very exciting time to be in medicine.