Think ‘Move’ and a Paralyzed Arm Moves
Drinking a cup of coffee may be a routine morning ritual for many of us, but for a 53-year-old man paralyzed in a bicycle accident eight years ago, it’s a very big deal. Scientists at Case Western Reserve University implanted sensors in the man’s brain and 36 muscle-stimulating electrodes in his upper and lower arm, according to CBS News’ Ashley Welch. A brain signal stimulates the arm and hand muscles. Less than a year after first being fitted with the neuro-prosthesis, the man was able to drink a cup of coffee and feed himself, among other tasks. Though the system is still in the early stages of experimentation, Welch explains why some experts call it “groundbreaking.”
Heart Tissue Finds a Foster Home Popeye Would Be Proud of
Spinach leaves have veins. Human hearts have blood vessels. Making that connection over lunch was an aha moment for two bioengineers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. So they went to the local market, bought a bunch of spinach, stripped the leaves of their cells and seeded the gaps with human heart tissue. As The Washington Post’s Ben Guarino reports, “Heart cells, in clusters, beat for up to three weeks in this unusual environment.” Although innovations like 3D printing are leading to all kinds of artificial organs, the heart is a tough one to recreate. In a fascinating piece, Guarino describes how this spinach experiment works and why it could be a major breakthrough, especially for those who desperately need a heart transplant.
Look Good, Feel Good
Daughters of separate cancer patients teamed up to create a more fashionable alternative to traditional hospital gowns, NPR reports. With a mission to “destigmatize health,” Brussels, Belgium-based Nikla Lancksweert founded INGA Wellbeing, a clothing line that has won awards for innovation and is available online as well as in some UK retail stores. After watching her late mother go through cancer treatment, Lancksweert yearned to give her and other patients more dignified clothing options. She joined forces with former public relations executive, Claire Robinson — whose mom was also treated for cancer— and fashion designer Fiona McGreal. The trio officially launched the full collection in January.
Gotta Wear Shades
Young physicians, residents and medical students are fairly optimistic about their profession, with 90 percent saying they are at least satisfied with their career choice, a new survey conducted for the American Medical Association finds. The survey results, collected in February and March by M3 USA, show that helping people was the top motivator for becoming a doctor, with 63 percent citing that as a reason. In addition, 82 percent said helping people was a motivation for continuing in medicine, according to an overview of the survey, which was conducted with 400 people from each of three categories: medical students, residents and physicians of less than 10 years.