Stitches deserve a makeover. We've been using them in some form for thousands of years. So while they've stood the test of time, a researcher from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is wrestling surgical sutures into the future by creating "smart" electronic versions. They can monitor sutured sites for infection, and even help in the healing process.
Massive blood loss, known as MBL in the medical world, is a major cause of death during cardiac surgery--and an accepted one, because it's the best option we have. Blood transfusions help, but those aren't without complications, either. A new device could cut that step out of the process for some patients by collecting the blood from a surgery, concentrating the blood cells, and routing it intravenously right back to the person on the table.
Today in great reads: The Verge's Ben Popper has a killer story up about the world of underground body hackers--those souls brave and crazy enough to perform surgery on themselves to give themselves new powers and strengths. It goes beyond regular cyborg ideas, partly because the guys are doing it themselves, with no safety net. Example: some embed a rare earth magnet under one's skin, which allows the hacked person to detect electromagnetic fields. There's a video of the surgery/hack, and it's a bit graphic but pretty awesome. Check out the story here.
We've seen snake robots and, of course, tons of surgery robots (including the weird lamprey-bot), but Dr. Michael Argenziano, the Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center in New York, says we'll soon have fully untethered snake-type robots that will crawl through the human body, assisting with all kinds of fixes and maintenance.
An ultra-fast tiny laser can work as a miniature scalpel inside the body, making careful incisions or excisions while leaving healthy tissue intact. It is more effective than a doctor’s metal scalpel or even other laser devices, according to its developers at the University of Texas, because it leaves more healthy cells alone.
By Jeremiah Zagar
Posted 02.29.2012 at 2:04 pm 9 Comments
Heart Stop Beating is a three-minute documentary film about the no-pulse, continuous-flow artificial heart, which Dan Baum writes about in our Future of Medicine issue. It tells the story of Billy Cohn & Bud Frazier, two visionary doctors from the Texas Heart Institute, who in March of 2011 successfully replaced a dying man's heart with the device they developed, proving that life was possible without a pulse or a heart beat.
Astronauts traveling to Mars or other distant destinations will face all kinds of medical problems, but rocket science isn’t surgery. And vice versa. A new augmented reality system could help astronauts take care of each other, overlaying computer graphics over a real patient to guide diagnoses or even surgery. It could even improve telemedicine in developing countries or remote spots.
Who ever doubted an amazing meal could change your life? Researchers in Singapore have developed a robotic surgery device inspired by the country’s famous national dish, chili crab. The mini crab robot crawls down your throat and into the stomach, where its pincers grab onto a cancerous mass and a hook slices it away.
A team of veterinarians have taken time away from helping fluffy animals to focus on what's really important: dinner. Specifically, what's the best way to sew your holiday bird back up after you've deboned and stuffed it?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.