Showing posts with label Bio medical technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bio medical technology. Show all posts

Friday, 20 October 2017

New Method for Tissue Regeneration, Inspired by Nature

Tissue Regeneration

Tissue Regeneration through Vesicles


Elderly people as well as many others have suffered bone damage, teeth problems and the like at some point in their lives. While in elderly people, the occurrence of such problems may be common place, there is still a percentage of middle age as well youth who go through bone related issues in their lives.

Repairing bones, teeth and cartilage today is not a cheap affair. Methods involving one’s own cells to regenerate tissue or methods involving tissue taken from other patients are all very expensive and have associated problems to the patient like patient morbidity.

Having bone related issues can affect a person’s quality of life detrimentally. Research shows that by the year 2020 bone fractures would have gone up to such an extent that the incoming patients would put a tremendous strain on healthcare facilities. It also shows that fractures caused by osteoporosis alone will cost the NHS a whopping 1.5 billion pounds to handle, not to mention the effect it would have on a person’s quality of life.

Given all of the above, it is time to look at other methods to regenerate tissue growth in an individual and scientists have done just that. Researchers have stimulated cells to make nano- sized particles called vesicles to regenerate tissue. This method of tissue regeneration can be used to repair teeth, cartilage and bone.

In the past researchers have used cell based methods to regenerate tissue but this process involved a lot of costs, regulatory issues and raised ethical objections. But with this new method of tissue regeneration using vesicles, all these issues are overcome. Tissue regeneration using this novel method uses the natural vesicles that are made during bone formation itself and does not take viable cells.

This new method of tissue regeneration using extracellular vesicles is combined with a phosphate. This type of tissue regeneration far out performs the current gold standards of tissue regeneration.
Although science cannot at this stage replicate cells in exactly the natural way it occurs in our bodies, this new approach at tissue regeneration allows researchers to move in the right direction and look to improve on methods to regenerate tissues in bones, teeth and cartilage.

This novel method uses our own body’s healing process to regenerate tissue. Right now current methods are lacking, in the sense that they cause patient morbidity and have other side effects that are all detrimental to a person’s health.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Light-Dependent Regulation of Sleep and Wake States

Lights Out: The Neural Association between Sleep and Light

Humans are animals that are diurnal in nature, that is, we sleep during the night time and are awake and active during the day, as a result of light partly available or completely absent. It has been observed that light indirectly affects sleep by altering the length of our circadian rhythms a bit, quickly and directly due to an occurrence called as masking. But while a lot of information is available about how the circadian rhythms are affected by light, there is very little knowledge about the how light affects sleep directly: Why does one’s sleep gets disturbed if the lights are switched on in the middle of the night? Why does being in d dark enable us to sleep better?

Caltech researchers in Professor of Biology David Prober’s laboratory said that they have discovered the answer partly: a particular protein in the brain that is responsive to light and its absence sets and maintains the accurate balance between sleep and alertness. Prober also added that earlier, researchers had recognized the photoreceptors present in the eye to be essential for the direct outcome of light on sleep and wakefulness but how the brain uses this ocular data to induce and control sleep was unknown.

Zebrafish was used as a model organism for observing the sleeping pattern at the Prober laboratory. These organisms are visually transparent, which allows for non-invasive recording of their neurons through images. They also have diurnal sleep and wake patterns similar to like that of humans.

To study and observe in their experiment, how their sleep is responsive to the availability or absence of light, a former graduate in Prober's lab, Wendy Chen, directed the studies where they examined a specific protein present in the zebrafish brain called prokineticin 2 (Prok2).

Chen genetically engineered zebrafish to excessively produce Prok2, which resulted in the availability of the protein in a large quantity. She observed that in comparison to normal zebrafish, these animals were more liable to fall asleep during the day and stay awake at night.

Amazingly, the effects did not rely on the engineered fish's typical circadian sleep/wake cycle but to a certain extent depended only on whether the lights were switched on or off in their surroundings. These studies put forward that a surplus of Prok2 restrains both the natural awakening result of light and the sedating outcome of darkness.

Chen then produced zebrafish with metamorphosed structures of Prok2 and its receptor, and studied the sleep defects in these animals that were dependent on light. For instance, Chen found that a zebrafish with an altered Prok2 receptor were more alert and active in the presence of light and less active in the absence of it, which was quite the contrary of what she had noticed in the animals that over expressed Prok2 and had Prok2 receptors that were functional.

Prober stated his observations saying that although diurnal animals like zebrafish for example, spend their nights sleeping and are awake during the day, they also take small naps during the course of the day and sometimes wake up at night which is very similar to what humans do.

He also added that their experiment’s results put forward that levels of Prok2 play a very vital role in maintaining the accurate balance between wakefulness and sleep during both the course of the day and night.

In their next step, the researchers wanted to observe and study how Prok2 was adapting the effect of light on sleep. To find out the answer to this question, they decided to observe whether other proteins present in the brain that affect sleep, were needed for of Prok2 to have an effect on sleep behaviour.

They found that that the sleep-inducing effect of Prok2 over expression in light requires galanin, which is a protein that promotes sleep. They also observed that Prok2 over expression enhanced the level of galanin expression in the key sleep-promoting centre of the brain, the anterior hypothalamus. But in the animals that were engineered to be deficient in galanin, over expression of Prok2 did not enhance sleep.

These conclusions offer the foremost insights into how light interrelates with the brain to affect sleep and provide a foundation for scientists to start discovering the genes and neurons that trigger the occurrence. However, additional work is required to understand fully describe how light and dark directly impact sleeping and waking, and to establish whether Prok2 has a function akin to humans. If it does, these studies will ultimately result in new drugs that promote sleep and wake.

The title of this paper is based on regulation of sleep/wake states dependent on light with the help of prokineticin 2 in zebrafish. Postdoctoral scholars Chanpreet Singh and Grigorios Oikonomou are other Caltech co-authors.

Sabine Reichert and Jason Rihel of University College London also made contributions to this study. The National Institutes of Health; the Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation; the Rita Allen Foundation; and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funded the work.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Artificial Womb That Can Keep the Premature Babies Alive





Artificial Womb
Test tube babies will become a thing of past with this innovation and breakthrough made by the scientists which might scare some people or make them happy altogether. Scientists had come up with an artificial womb which can keep pre term babies alive outside of the womb. The look and build of this device will remind the people of coming out right from any science fiction but it has been tested successfully on the baby lambs with impressive results. Very soon it will be made available for trails on the critically ill human babies coming from the age group of three to five years.

How does the artificial womb works?

The artificial womb is way ahead of the traditional incubators due to the use of the extra uterine support device which helps in closely replicating the conditions of the real womb. The next best thing introduced in this device is the presence of the external gas exchange machine which works just like the mother’s placenta and helps in keeping the blood circulation in the heart and body at optimum level. Scientists have ensured that there is no mechanical pump present in the device because studies have shown that even a gentle artificial pressure can turn fatal for the underdeveloped heart.

Scientists have made use of the synthetic amniotic which is filled with nutrients which essentially flows in as well as out of the temperature controlled of the bio bag kept in the near-sterile state. The aim of the scientists were to produce such an environment which can keep the premature babies safely outside the womb while their critical internal organs like lungs and heart develops to their best ability.

It is worth noting that babies born prematurely within 23 weeks posses a very weak chance of making through that alive. Thereby this system will certainly help in increasing the chances of the premature babies to develop healthily. This system is way superiors than the traditional technology and equipments available at the hospitals to take of the 23 week old baby.

Health industry experts are enthralled

One of the health industry experts has stated that there is certainly no technology which will eventually end up in replacing the mother’s womb right at the earliest stages of the fetal development. There are theories which are doing round in the past years wherein human can be reproduced artificially from the embryo completely. But such a thing is far from reality at the moment as human beings are way different from the lambs.

It is worth noting that lambs tend to grow faster taking just about five months to their full terms while it takes eight months for human. Secondly the lambs are way larger than the human baby at three times. One of the experts has also explained that this artificial womb is not designed to replace the womb required in the first half of the pregnancy rather it will help in specifically treating the extremely premature babies in a new ways.