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Implant

Last Wednesday in Paris, a 75 year-old man received an artificial heart. That in itself might not be newsworthy, as such devices have been in use since the early 80s. In this case, however, the gadget in question was the first Carmat bioprosthetic artificial heart to ever be implanted in a human. According to its inventor, cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, it's the world's first self-regulating artificial heart. Read More
Most who have tried it would agree that dieting is a generally unpleasant, and an oftentimes ineffective way to lose weight in the long-term. The biggest hurdle for many is the constant hunger that comes from a change in their regular diet. Biotechnologists at ETH-Zurich have created a genetic helper that could one day put an end to the hunger pangs. Read More
Help could be on the way for people who don't have enough bone to support dental implants, who are missing bone due to a birth defect, or who have suffered bone-damaging injuries. Scientists at the University of Iowa have created an implantable collagen patch seeded with particles containing synthetic DNA, that instructs the patient's own cells to produce the protein that leads to bone growth. Read More
Ordinarily, a pacemaker is surgically implanted below the collarbone, where it sits in a sizable pocket under the skin. Electrical leads run from it to the heart, allowing it to monitor the rhythm of the heartbeat, and deliver electrical pulses to adjust that rhythm as needed. Now, however, Minnesota-based St. Jude Medical has announced upcoming availability of "the world’s first and only commercially available leadless pacemaker." Known as the Nanostim, it's reportedly less than 10 percent the size of a regular pacemaker, and is inserted directly into the heart via a minimally-invasive procedure. Read More
It's something most of us take for granted, but our sense of touch is every bit as useful to us as our sight and hearing. Though it seems simple, picking up and holding an object requires nearly instantaneous sensation in the parts of our hands and fingers in contact with the desired object, as well as a sense of the pressure we're applying. Many experimental efforts to simulate a sense of touch in amputees fitted with prosthetics require the subject to learn new associations between touching an object and some abstract sensation. But new research at the University of Chicago suggests that it is possible to map the individual finger pads of a prosthetic hand to the corresponding parts of the brain. In other words, prosthetic hands which offer a realistic sense of touch may theoretically be possible. Read More
Remotely hacking a pacemaker or insulin pump should be impossible, but sadly it isn't. It puts the millions of people who use wireless medical implants at potential risk. Researchers at Rice University believe they have a solution: a touch-based device that will use a person's own heartbeat as a password to permit or deny access to their implant. Read More
The miniaturization of electronics continues to revolutionize the medical industry with tiny, swallowable devices and minuscule, implanted sensors. Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have kept the ball rolling with the development of a new micro-printing process that allows the production of flexible and energy-efficient microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices that can be safely used in the human body. Read More
Like a lot of things, bone cells grow and reproduce quicker on textured surfaces than on smooth ones. With that in mind, a team of scientists from Ohio State University are developing a new coating that could allow implants such as artificial hips to bond with bones faster. That coating is described as “a microscopic shag carpet made of tiny metal oxide wires.” Read More
The group of neurological disorders known as epilepsy not only cause disruptive, alarming seizures, but those seizures also tend to increase in frequency and severity over time. While the majority of patients can gain some control of their condition via medication or surgery, approximately 30 percent cannot. Now, however, help may be on the way ... in the form of tiny pieces of silk implanted in the brain. Read More
If physicians have a sufficiently-early warning that a patient’s body is rejecting a transplanted organ, then there’s a good chance that they can stop the process via medication. Implanted electronic sensors could serve to provide that warning as early as possible, and thanks to new research, they’re coming a step closer to practical use. Read More
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