Stem Cells Could Repair Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common reason for blindness in today’s world. Cataracts are when the lens in your eye becomes clouded and while often associated with the elderly, it also affects the young and even infants. While there is a surgical option to address this issue, a group in China thinks that stem cells could repair cataracts, giving people back their sight.

Currently in order to remove Cataracts, the patient needs to undergo surgery. Removing the lens that has become cloudy, and inserting either a transplanted or even artificial lens granting them back their sight. With millions undergoing the surgery, it’s not uncommon for complications and even diminished results ending with people requiring glasses to assist in their eyesight.

Typically these complications affect 24 our of 25 infants who have to undergo this surgery, but by encouraging the infant’s own stem cells, only one out of twelve infants in the trail had a complication.

While stem cells are a case for hope, with adults generating the stem cells used in this case way into their 40’s, this could become the first step in allowing people to regenerate their lenses in a semi-natural way. This could result in reducing or even removing the issue of cataracts coupled with a much smaller and less invasive technique.

Doctors Implant 3D-Printed Vertebrae

3D Printers have helped medicine come a long way, with the ability to customise and create things in an easy and cost-effective way that previously would have been impossible to do. 3D-printed ribs, to livers, eyes and even ears. While these are all amazing feats, they have always been generic items, things which are custom but not unique in their design. At the end of 2015, this changed though when a patient was implanted with two 3D printed vertebrae.

Vertebrae are the discs that cling to your spine and are responsible for giving you a lot of your movement. The patient in question suffered from a form of cancer that had formed on the top two of his vertebrae, potentially threatening his spinal cord as it developed. The top two vertebrae are the ones responsible for your heads movement, meaning that grafting one from another piece of bone or material would be particularly difficult given their custom nature.

The solution was to work with an Australian medical device manufacturer, Anatomics, who using a 3D printer created the top two vertebrae using a 3D printer and some titanium. Ralph Mobbs, the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery stated that it was “a pure delight” to perform the surgery knowing that you had already done it on a model.

The surgery itself took 15 hours to perform and given the location was not without risk. Described as “essentially disattaching the patient’s head from his neck and taking the tumour out and reattaching his head back into his neck”. The surgery was a success though and Mobbs was able to not only remove the tumor but also implant the prosthetic into the patient.

Is there anything people can’t do when they work together with technology and each other?

Google Cardboard Used to help Save a Baby’s Life

It is mostly the Oculus Rift and the Sony’s Playstation VR that take the headlines these days, but that doesn’t mean that simpler tools such as the Google Cardboard can’t be useful. In this case it was extremely useful as it helped to plan an operation virtually first and quite possibly have saved a baby’s life at the same time.

Teegan Lexcen was born with a unique defect that the doctors hadn’t seen before. Most of the left half of her heart was missing and on top of that she only has one lung. The parents were originally told by their doctors that nothing could be done. The poor girl was sent to a hospice to have the best care in the little time she had left. But two weeks later, Teegan was still alive. At this point her parents started to look for alternatives and found Redmond Burke, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Burke’s idea, along with a team of heart surgeons, was to 3D print a model of Teegan’s heart and go from there. But to make bad news worse, the 3D printer was broken and due to Teegan’s dangerous condition, something had to be done fast.

The doctors then turned to virtual reality in order to get a 3D image of the child’s chest region and organs. Doctors downloaded 3D images of the heart to an iPhone using the app Sketchfab. The images were similar to the 3D models that the doctors had on their computers, but the Google Cardboard used made it easier to accurately view every angle of the heart’s structure.

There were two major difficulties with this surgery, besides the extra risk that there always is with patients this young. First, the heart was placed further to the left of the chest than normal. That would normally require a very big incision which is a “massive trauma to a baby, it’s just horrendous,” Burke told CNN. Thanks to the Google Cardboard, Burke was able to visualize the precise location and use a much smaller and simpler midline incision.

The second challenge was a missing ventricle. Normally we have two, one that supplies the blood to the lungs while the other takes care of the rest. This was a tricky one in all conditions, but again the Google Cardboard helped Burke come up with a completely new procedure and solution for the problem. He rerouted Teegan’s right ventricle so it could continue to pump blood to both her lungs and body. He did this after having spent hours examining the 3D image of Teegan’s heart in Google Cardboard before pulling off the procedure with no complications.

This is a perfect example of why I love technology. When it is used for good and to help. In this case it was something as simple and cheap as a Google Cardboard (together with a lesser cheap iPhone) that helped do what an expensive 3D printer failed at. I wish little Teegan and her entire family all the best, may they all have a blessed life together.

3-Year-Old Chinese Girl Gets 3D Printed Titanium Skull

A 3-year-old girl in China has had her skull successfully replaced with a 3D printed aluminium alloy substitute in an operation that lasted 17 hours. The toddler, called Han Han, suffered from hydrocephalus – known as “water on the brain” for the fluid that collects around the organ – causing her head to swell up to four times its natural size.

The doctors at the Second People’s Hospital in Hunan Province used 3D scans of the girl’s head and a tomography scanner to create the titanium mesh pieces that replaced her upper skull. Surgeons detached the girl’s scalp, removed the top of her skull, drained the excess fluid around her brain, and rebuilt her head using the 3D printed segments.

“CT results showed that Han Han’s brain was filled 80 percent with water,”Dr. Bo of the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province said. “If she was not sent to hospital for treatment, Han Han would not have survived the summer. We had to first eliminate the infection in Han Han’s head because the brain wound area was too large, and we needed to do skin graft surgery and insert a shunt to help eliminate the infection, and remove the fluid from her brain.”

Though the surgery was successful, Han Han will require further operations as she matures in order to sustain her recovery. The surgery cost around 500,000 Chinese yuen (approximately $80,000), the funds for which were raised via a crowdfunding campaign.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information.

Man Saves Wife’s Sight With 3D Print-Out of Her Tumour

Back in 2013, Californian 3D graphic artist Michael Balzer took it upon himself to intervene in the treatment of his wife’s brain tumour, and saved her sight in the process.

Pamela Shavaun Scott, Balzer’s wife, discovered after an MRI scan in August 2013 that she had a brain tumour, positioned behind her left eye. Neurologists claimed that such a growth was common amongst women – nothing to be too concerned about – and suggested having a follow-up scan in a year.

Balzer was unconvinced, and sought the advice of the best doctors in the country. The neurologists Balzer sent the MRI results to agreed that Scott would require surgery. The proactive Balzer researched possible treatments for his wife. He settled on Center for Robotic Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where surgeon-controlled robotic arms use micro-movements to perform delicate operations.

Balzer requested Scott’s DICOM files (the digital format for MRI scan data) and used his expertise in 3D imaging to to convert them into a 3D model of his wife’s skull, complete with tumour. “I thought, ‘why don’t we take it to the next level?’” Balzer said. “Let’s see what kind of tools are available so that I can take the DICOMs, which are 2D slices, and convert them into a 3D model.”

Using the digital 3D creation he had formed, Balzer created a physical facsimile of Scott’s head with a 3D printer. After showing this model to neurosurgeons, it became feasible to avoid the usual high-risk method of operation – cracking the skull and lifting the brain to reach the tumour – and instead enter Scott’s skull with a micro-drill through the top of her eye cavity.

The operation was a success: Scott’s tumour was removed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in May 2014. During surgery, the neurologist discovered that the tumour had started to entangle the optic nerve to Scott’s left eye. If she’d waited a year, as initially advised, she would have suffered damage to the nerve, possibly losing her sight. The procedure took eight hours, with 95% of the tumour removed. The scar above Scott’s left eyelid is barely visible.

Source: Make

3D Printing Aids Surgeons to Save Five Year Old Boys Life

3D printing is once again showing how it can be a life changing piece of technology after a team of surgeons in Spain used their 3D printers to help save the life of a 5-year old cancer patient. The boy was suffering from neuroblastoma, which meant that he needed to have a tumour removed from around his stomach. Unfortunately after two failed attempts the surgeons were at a loss and couldn’t save the boy.

“We tried the surgery twice but we failed because we could not access,” head surgeon Jaume Mora said at a press conference Wednesday. “Instead of surrendering, we tried to find a solution.”

The team at Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona and the team at CIM Foundation at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia joined forces to create a 3D printed replica of the boy’s tumour, allowing the surgeons to practice the procedure. The extra training on a simulated stomach and tumour allowed the surgeons to precisely learn how to deal with the patient and just 1.5 weeks after they were able to successfully remove the tumour from the boy’s body.

The surgery went so well that the boy will not even need any follow-up surgeries, and doctors were so impressed with their final results that they commissioned 3D printed models for two other patients.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CNET.

University of Michigan Health System Develops First Bionic Eye

I think some of you out there might have wanted to know how will it be to have bionic a bionic eye. Sure, infra-red vision, optical zoom and object analysis might be a day dream for some, but apparently the tech is starting to move from the land of fiction to the land of reality.

The first step appears to come from surgeons at University of Michigan Health System, achieving the first step in developing a customized DNA chip. It is known as a ‘microarray’, helping to diagnose eye disorders, while having successful performed first ever surgery which involves implanting artificial retinas into the eyes of patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, which happens to be a degenerative eye disease that will eventually lead to blindness if nothing is done.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi_HpbFKnSw[/youtube]

The bionic eye itself was developed by by California-based Second Sight Medical Products, including professors Thiran Jayasundera and David N. Zacks, who are ophthalmologists at the University’s Kellogg Eye Center. And things are looking up for the project as well, since it already received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2013, giving a green light for implants to be performed using it.

This might not be the most amazing bionic eye with a lot of features, making you a bionic terminator, but it still is a major evolutionary device that should be strongly considered for the future (and upgrades).

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Bitcoins Now Accepted By Major Cosmetic Surgery Medial Center

As Bitcoin becomes more and more established in our lives we are hearing of more and more ways you can spend the digital currency around the world. You can almost anything these days with Bitcoin, but with Vanity Cosmetic Surgery now also accepting the cryptocurrency, you can also use it to pay for a boob job.

“What does this mean to patients? They can now use their loaded Bitcoin account to pay for a breast augmentation or a nose job, or maybe a laser hair removal treatment. This will definitely transform the way people will choose their doctors in the near future.”

The surgery have even updated their current price list ot reflect the equivalents in Bitcoin, with a breast augmentation costing around 6.43BTC, which at time of writing is around $2700.

It will be interesting to see how they keep their rates up to date, given that Bitcoins value changes almost constantly, but there is no doubt now that it is a major step forward for Bitcoins acceptance out side of the digital world.

Thank you Vyralize for providing us with this information.