"Lungs are unique," says Alexander Krupnick. "Unlike other organs, they are continually exposed to bacteria, viruses, and everything else in the environment, and we think this increases the risk of chronic rejection and the eventual failure of the organ."“In mice, memory T cells are critical for a lung transplant to have a good outcome,” says co-corresponding author Daniel Kreisel, a Washington University in St. Louis lung transplant surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “A lot of transplant recipients receive drugs that indiscriminately deplete many different T cells. But in lung transplants, this strategy may contribute to organ rejection.”When the scientists infused memory T cells into the lung recipients, they could reduce inflammation and prevent rejection. This new approach to appreciating the imperative inculcation of memory T cells throughout a lung transplant may alter the manner we transplant lungs in the future.
Researchers have developed an innovation which will change the way we manage heart disease by enabling the detection of abnormal heart characteristics at an early stage of a forthcoming disease. Engineers have created a 3-D elastic membrane made of a soft, flexible, silicon material that is shaped to match the heart's epicardium. This material can potentially be infused with sensors to detect pH levels and ventricular arrhythmia. "Each heart is a different shape, and current devices are one-size-fits-all and don't at all conform to the geometry of a patient's heart," says Efimov, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering. "With this application, we image the patient's heart through MRI or CT scan, then computationally extract the image to build a 3-D model that we can print on a 3-D printer. We then mold the shape of the membrane that will constitute the base of the device deployed on the surface of the heart."
The complexity of a pediatric heart is immense. When cardiac surgeon Erle Austin was preparing to operate on the heart of a 14 month old, he turned to his colleagues with the patient's heart images. But to his disapointment, he was receiving conflicting opinions as to how he should operate to save the patient. To his surprise, a 3D printed model of the child's heart enabled surgeons to prepare in exquisite detail for the operation. The model allowed Dr. Austin to understand exactly what he needed to do, and how he had to do.
Surgical techniques available today fall short in treating paralysis due to nerve damage of the spinal cord. Scientists are attempting to utilize controlled robotic limbs to give patients the ability to move paralyzed limbs with their own brain activity. Ziv Williams of Harvard is developing spinal cord prosthetics in monkeys and has been successful in demonstrating the value of brain machine interface action in paralyzed animals. His team connected 2 monkeys with brain machine electrodes, and allowed one monkey interacting with a computer to control the movements of the paralyzed monkey's limbs." We envision putting a microchip into the brain to record the activity behind the intent for movement and putting another microchip in the spinal cord below the site of injury to stimulate limb movements, and then connecting the microchips," Williams said.
Plagiocephaly, or “flat head syndrome”, occurs when one of the growth plates of the skull fuses prematurely, leading to a flattened forehead, a bulge in the opposite forehead and an overall asymmetry in the skull. Physicians used a 3D printed model of the patient to prep for this complex surgery. Furthermore, the constructed images of the patient were sent to colleagues at various clinics, enabling doctors to work together on a patient that was geographically distanced from them. The future implications of telemedicine are endless.
Glioma: the human killer. These difficult brain tumors are the fear of surgeons who wish to remove them from delicate locations lurking within the brain. Researchers have now found a way to catch GBM tumor cells before moving to other parts of the brain, in hopes of limiting the probability of the tumor from growing, spreading, and eventually killing the patient. "We have designed a polymer thin film nanofiber that mimics the structure of nerves and blood vessels that brain tumor cells normally use to invade other parts of the brain," explained Ravi Bellamkonda, lead investigator and chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "The cancer cells normally latch onto these natural structures and ride them like a monorail to other parts of the brain. By providing an attractive alternative fiber, we can efficiently move the tumors along a different path to a destination that we choose."
Researchers have developed a computer based brain which mimics the functionality of the human brain better than the status quo. Spaun, the virtual brain, has the ability to learn new tasks, lose memories, and make mistakes , much like the human brain. “Our hope is that you could try out different possible treatments quickly to see how the brain reacts and how each one changes behaviour before testing them in people,” says Terrence Stewart, a post-doctoral researcher with the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience at Waterloo and project manager for Spaun.
Soldiers suffer from PTST , traumatic brain injury, and memory loss on a very frequent basis. In reaction to this unfortunate outcome of war incurred by our noble troops, DARPA is investigating the future of military warfare: Neuroimplants. The current trajectory of the project aims to design neuronal black boxes which can be incorporated into the brain of a soldier to record their brain signals and neuronal firings while on the battle field. Akin to a blackbox used to record flight crashes, scientists are aiming to build this device in a way that will record the lost memories of the soldiers on the battle field. Yet, much needs to be done in terms of developing a standard method of encoding how neurons speak with one another and what those 'conversations' actually mean.
Dr. Matthias Eiber from the department of radiology at Technische Universität München reports that from a minimal clinical study they have determined that advantageous use of FDG-PET/MRI imaging modalities to detect bone lesions, rather than PET/CT modalities. Their work is published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
Vivek Reddy, MD, of Mount Sinai Hospital implanted the United States' first miniature-sized, leadless cardiac pacemaker directly inside a patient's heart without surgery. The leads-free pacemaker is implanted by a cardiac electrophysiologist directly inside the heart during a catheter-guided procedure through the groin via the femoral artery. The device, resembling a small, metal silver tube, is only a few centimeters in length, making it less than ten percent the size of a traditional pacemaker. Commenting on forthcoming clinical trials, "This clinical research trial will be testing the latest innovative, non-surgical pacemaker option for patients experiencing a slowed heart beat," says Vivek Reddy, MD, the study's co-investigator who is Director of Electrophysiology Services at The Mount Sinai Hospital and Chairman of the Steering Committee of the study. See more here.