Synthetic Hydrogel Could Prevent Medical Implant Rejections
In tests done on mice, the hydrogel effectively disguised the implant and tricked the body into thinking it wasn't even there.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a synthetic material that, when used to coat a device such as a heart valve or breast implant, prevents the body from rejecting it. The hydrogel is comprised of water and a special polymer that deflects all proteins. Their appearance on the surface of an implant is a sign that the body is preparing to reject it by building a collagen wall around it. However, when devices coated with the substance were implanted in mice, "collagen was loosely and evenly distributed in the tissue around the polymer, suggesting that the mice bodies didn't even detect the polymer's presence." Details on the new hydrogel appeared in this week's Nature Biotechnology.
What's the Big Idea?
While implant technology has grown by leaps and bounds, none of it does any good if the body doesn't accept the implant, which is why researchers have spent decades trying to get around the issue. Since 1996, the University of Washington has been home to an engineered biomaterials center funded by the National Science Foundation. Its director, Buddy Ratner, says the new material "has applications for so many different medical implants, because we literally put hundreds of devices into the body...This hydrogel is not just pretty good, it's exceptional." Next comes tests on humans, which will likely involve an implant manufacturer.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.