Functional Human Hearts Generated From Skin Cells

Doctors are constantly being helped by their friends in the technology industry, from 3D printing ears to making veins in a cotton candy machine, people are now able to start replacing damaged parts of themselves with items created from their genetic make up. This technology may have gone one step further with a research group claiming to have created functional human hearts.

The new technique could see people avoiding waiting lists and the risk of their immune system rejecting the new organ. With a low risk of an immune response, the new technique could see a 100% acceptance amongst transplants.

By using skin cells from a patient, the team were able to generate the cardiac muscles found in a heart. In order to turn it into a transplantable heart it needed a structure, something that would take time to develop. Using 73 donor hearts that were considered unsuitable for transplantation, the team removed the living cells leaving only the neutral network required for the heart.

With the ability to replace body parts with artificially grown organs appearing quicker and quicker, it won’t be long before we can repair defects in body parts and ensure that people who suffer injuries to their organs can repair them as easily as a cut on their arm.

Does Your Business Card Have An ECG Built In?

So you find someone who wants to do business, how would you go about advertising your company way after you’ve even met? Some people will give you an email address or phone number while the most prepared will have a nice and shiny business card waiting for your hand before you’ve even broken eye contact. You can get all kinds of business cards, plastic or card and some are even USB memory sticks in disguise. What if you are in a specialist career like a cardiologist? Why not have an ECG card?

Designed by a company titled MobilECG, the latest card has two sensors that can measure your readings just like an actual medical ECG machine. By placing your two thumbs on the provided finger pads, you will get an ECG reading just like those shown on TV. While it isn’t designed to be a diagnostic tool, as clearly stated on the card, the concept is a novel one.

Currently costing $29 per card, the current design is there to merely gauge interest in the product and you can even find the code available for free on the open source repository site GitHub. If that isn’t enough you can even find the schematics for the card here.

66-Year-Old Man’s Rare Heart Condition Cured by 3D Printing

A specialized team of Doctors at UCLA recently performed a medical marvel thanks to the capabilities of 3D printing. One of their patients, Richard Whitaker had been suffering from a rare long-term heart condition and conventional procedures posed a significant risk of death. Whitaker’s suffering was caused by congestive heart failure which led to swollen ankles and extreme fatigue. In simple terms, his heart wasn’t circulating enough blood and this restricted the lungs’ air flow. Why? The pulmonary arteries were shockingly large and Doctors could only resort to an extreme space-age solution to save his life.

The Doctors at UCLA enlisted the help of Materialise to create a 3D printed model of Whitaker’s heart and test a variety of materials. This was a very unusual process and it was unknown which material would create the best replacement. A mock up was constructed to see the viability of the operation. The end result was a combination of silicone and harder materials to accurately depict the heart’s tissue. This graft was made through a CT scan of Whitaker’s chest to produce the best results.

So how does the operation actually work? The team had to carefully feed a valve and stent through a vein in Whitaker’s groin, up to his heart, using a catheter. Once this procedure was complete, the blood flow moved in a single direction and transported the proper amount of oxygen. Miraculously, Whitaker was ready to be discharged within a mere 4 days and elated with the results. He said “I didn’t miss a beat and was able to get back to my life quickly.”

It’s difficult to deduce if the operation through traditional means would have been successful and once again shows how 3D printing is possibly one of the most groundbreaking inventions humankind has ever devised. I’m happy to see Mr. Whitaker in good health and hope 3D modelling of organs will become cheaper, and more widespread to help those with chronic medical condition. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless and perhaps the future isn’t as bleak as it seems.

Thank you 3D Print for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of UCLA Health Science.

Heartbleed Bug Still a Vulnerability on Over 300,000 Servers

The OpenSSL security flaw known as Heartbleed has been one of the most chilling news stories in the tech world over the last few months and it’s not surprising considering an estimated two-thirds of the world’s servers are reliant on the OpenSSL platform to operate. Now even though things have died down a little and the bug seems to be in the past, the truth is that Heartbleed is still as much of a concern as it was a couple of months ago.

Robert Graham, a security researcher and blogger on Errata Security has discovered that over 300,000 servers are still open to attack – that’s still half of those originally discovered when the bug was exposed by one of Google’s engineers. The search into how many servers are still open is easy conducted by scanning the internet on port 443 and seeing how many servers respond to the scan. Those that do not respond have been patched, but port 443 is only one of the ports affected.

When the Heartbleed vulnerability was announced, we found 600k systems vulnerable. A month later, we found that half had been patched, and only 300k were vulnerable. Last night, now slightly over two months after Heartbleed, we scanned again, and found 300k (309,197) still vulnerable. This is done by simply scanning on port 443, I haven’t check other ports.

Of the originally estimated 600,000 servers that were vulnerable, the 300k that have attended to the flaw are predominantly the major names around the world so this means that the huge number of servers that are still open, and may continue to be for a number of years, belong to much smaller sites that either don’t know about the problem, or simply don’t care.

How long Heartbleed will continue to be a threat to security is an unknown entity. Until each and every single server around the world has been patched or replaced as part of routing upgrades, it is impossible to state when the bug will be extinct. All I can urge server owners to do is to check that they have their systems patched and secure. It is not just the integrity of your business that could be at stake, but also the personal information of anyone that uses your server.

Source: The Verge