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Stem Cells

Stem cells are one of the most important resources in medical future, but most of us at first may think what on earth stem cells are? Why are they so important? And where can we find them? Or at least that’s what I thought when I heard about them.

Let’s begin with what they are. Stem cells are a type of undifferentiated cells, which are able to become specialized cells. This means that they are cells that don’t have a specific function, but they can turn into any type of cells in our body, like cells from: blood, bones, organs, etc.

There are two main sources from where stem cells can be obtained: from embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development known as embryonic stem cells, and also from adult tissue.

The most important use I found is the possibility to grow human organs from stem cells although this technic is under development. Stem cells can also be used for cosmetic purposes to reduce wrinkles, skin discoloration, etc.

Dr. Nathan Newman a cosmetic surgeon from Beverly Hills is the innovator of the Stem Cell Lift. The procedure consists in harvesting stem cells acquired from the patient’s body fat and then injecting it on the desired areas to replenish what has been lost with what was naturally there.

Dr. Newman

The picture below is one of Dr. Newman’s patients. He tried this procedure to fill the indentation of his jaw caused by the excision of tissue due to cancer.  After treatment his jaw line restored and the stem cells also repaired nerve damage caused by radiation treatment of the cancer.

Before and After

He also developed stem cell technology skincare products known as Luminesce. It is the first anti-aging product to stimulate natural ability of your body to heal, amplify, and replenish skin.

If you apply Luminesce daily you will achieve results in damaged skin cell repair and new skin tissue regeneration, leaving your skin luminous, firm, and smoother. Also you’ll notice reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Cellular Rejuvenation Serum

Augmented reality

If you had asked me a few months ago about augmented reality, I would have told you that I didn’t even had a clue. About a month ago one of my partners in ethics class gave us a presentation about augmented reality and it really caught my attention so I decided to investigate a little bit more.

Augmented reality is adding computer generated content (pictures, words, animations, etc) to a live view of the real world. It is used to enhance the world that surrounds us and this can be achieved by using many different devices.

Two of the most used are head-mounted displays known as HMD’s and the heads-up displays (HUD’s). HMD’s are glasses that allow its user to view the enhanced reality in all of his surroundings and HUD’s are transparent screens with LED display usually placed in front of its user.

Vuzix HMD

Fighter Jet screen (HUD)

During my research I found really interesting uses of augmented reality in several fields like sports, the automobile industry, military, movies, etc.

If you are a fan of sports, you may have noticed some color lines as the first down line in American football or the arrows to show the players movement, but they are not really drawn on the real field, instead they are overlaid on the image at your television screen.

First down line

In the automobile industry BMW is one of the pioneers in the use of augmented reality. They developed a system that assists their mechanics with video and audio instructions helping them from committing frequent errors.

 

Medical Robots

Medical robots are created with the intention to overcome limitations in performing minimal invasion surgeries (MIS). MIS can be performed by robots that are controlled by specialized surgeons. This robots use specialized instruments and viewing equipment that are inserted into the body through really small incisions compared with incisions of normal surgeries. This kind of surgeries help minimize surgical trauma and damage to other tissues, and also shortens patients recovery time.

Minimally invasive surgery

 

Another advantage of robot assisted surgery is that they can be performed remotly, which can be really helpful in complex surgeries, because they can be performed by experts from around the world without the need of being in the same hospital as you.

Even though robotically assisted surgery has its benefits is not accesible in every hospital because of its high elevated costs, the cost of the robots may be between 1 to 2 million dolars each.

One of the most advanced systems is the da Vinci System that  consists in an ergonomicly designed surgeon console and a patient cart with 4 robotic arms (one to control a high resolution endoscope and the other 3 to control instruments).

Da Vinci surgical system