Imagine having the option to get a 3D-printed organ. Well, a team of biomedical engineers from Carnegie Mellon University has just developed the first flexible, full-size, 3D-print of a human heart, bringing us one step closer to that reality.
Additive manufacturing printers are popular, but are typically known to build hard objects using materials like plastic or metal. But rigid plastic organs aren’t very practical. These printers could be used with softer materials, like biological hydrogels — you know, to make a heart — but those tend to collapse mid-print. But this new method can change the game.
The 3D-printing technique is called Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels or FRESH. It can print biological structures with soft squishy materials like alginate, a biomaterial made from seaweed, which feels like human tissue. AND it cleverly solves that collapsing problem during print by suspending flexible materials inside a container of gelatin.
For this team of researchers it all starts with a MRI scan from a real heart. The scan gets “chopped-up” digitally into horizontal slices by a program which then translates them into code that a printer will understand. A needle-like nozzle moves through the gelatin support bath, extruding thin layers of alginate. The layers stack on top of each other to build the shape. When the print is complete, it’s put in an incubator overnight, where the temperature is raised to 37°C to gently melt away the gelatin support structure, leaving only the 3D-printed heart.
It has taken time — some say far too long — but medicine stands on the brink of an AI revolution. In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Isaac Kohane, head of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, and his co-authors say that AI will indeed make it possible to bring all medical knowledge to bear in service of any case.
Properly designed AI also has the potential to make our health care system more efficient and less expensive, ease the paperwork burden that has more and more doctors considering new careers, fill the gaping holes in access to quality care in the world’s poorest places, and, among many other things, serve as an unblinking watchdog on the lookout for the medical errors that kill an estimated 200,000 people and cost $1.9 billion annually.
“I’m convinced that the implementation of AI in medicine will be one of the things that change the way care is delivered going forward,” said David Bates, chief of internal medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s clear that clinicians don’t make as good decisions as they could. If they had support to make better decisions, they could do a better job.”
A new recipe for patterning cells on a surface holds promise for spinal cord injuries. Video by the Office of Communications
UC Davis Health scientists Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi spent 15 years developing the world’s first total-body PET scanner, called EXPLORER. This imaging machine scans a patient’s entire body at one time, delivering breathtaking image quality that improves patient diagnoses and disease research.
UC Davis Cultivating Health blog: https://health.ucdavis.edu/cultivatin…
H4D facilitates access to healthcare by allowing patients to consult a doctor remotely in the Consult Station®, the first connected local telemedicine booth. This medical device allows quality healthcare to be delivered for primary care, occupational health, and general health promotion.
Featuring articles on lung-cancer screening in the NELSON trial, ribociclib and fulvestrant in metastatic breast cancer, vitamin D in pregnancy and asthma, treatment thresholds for neonatal hypoglycemia, and CAR-NK cells in anti-CD19 lymphoid tumors; a review article on placebo and nocebo effects; a Clinical Problem-Solving describing a rapid change in pressure; and Perspective articles on altruism in Extremis, on abuses of FDA regulatory procedures, and on joining forces against delirium.
A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) model predicts breast cancer in mammograms more accurately than radiologists, reducing false positives and false negatives, reports a large international study from Google, Northwestern Medicine and two screening centers in the United Kingdom (U.K.).
From a Becker’s Hospital Review online release:
Telemedicine extends care accessibility to people with epilepsy, who may be unable to drive to appointments, as well as people with mobility issues stemming from neurologic disorders such as multiple sclerosis. Virtual care also helps address geographic barriers by allowing patients in rural areas to see a neurologist through telemedicine technology instead of having to travel hours for in-person care, said lead author Jaime Hatcher-Martin, MD, PhD, a member of AAN, according to the news release.
The studies’ analysis found that patients and their caregivers were equally satisfied with virtual physician visits and in-person appointments. Some studies showed that the use of telemedicine is as effective as in-person care to make accurate diagnoses. However, the researchers noted that there have been few randomized, controlled studies on telemedicine for neurology apart from stroke care.
From a Caltech online news release:
“Such wearable sweat sensors have the potential to rapidly, continuously, and noninvasively capture changes in health at molecular levels,” Gao says. “They could enable personalized monitoring, early diagnosis, and timely intervention.”
The development of such sensors would allow doctors to continuously monitor the condition of patients with illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or kidney disease, all of which result in abnormal levels of nutrients or metabolites in the bloodstream. Patients would benefit from having their physician better informed of their condition, while also avoiding invasive and painful encounters with hypodermic needles.
Gao’s work is focused on developing devices based on microfluidics, a name for technologies that manipulate tiny amounts of liquids, usually through channels less than a quarter of a millimeter in width. Microfluidics are ideal for an application of this sort because they minimize the influence of sweat evaporation and skin contamination on the sensing accuracy. As freshly supplied sweat flows through the microchannels, the device can make more accurate measurements of sweat and can capture temporal changes in concentrations.