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New Technology Grows Organs From Salad?

Technology / New research has found that spinach leaves can be used as a scaffold for beating human heart cells. Researchers grew beating human heart cells on spinach leaves by perfusing them with a detergent solution, which stripped them of their plant cells. This proof-of-concept study suggests that multiple spinach leaves could be used to grow layers of healthy heart muscle that could one day be used to treat heart attack patients, the researchers believe.

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Glenn Gaudette, the study’s senior researcher and a professor of biomedical engineering technology at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts stated, “We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising. Adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a host of problems limiting the field.”

The researchers also said they believe they could deliver blood and oxygen to developing tissues by pouring fluids through the spinach leaves’ veins. Joshua Gershlak, a graduate student of biomedical engineering at WPI and the study’s lead researcher stated, “When I looked at the spinach leaf, its stem reminded me of an aorta; so I thought, let’s perfuse [the fluids] right through the stem.”

The scientists said spinach leaves make a good scaffold because once the plant cells are washed away, a cellulose structure remains. The researchers wrote in the study, “Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering and wound healing.”

In addition to spinach leaves, the researchers also removed plant cells from parsley, Artemesia annua (sweet wormwood), and peanut hairy roots. The researchers said scaffolds from these plants, and perhaps others, could be helpful for other types of specialized tissue regeneration.

Although spinach leaves have many veins, making them a well-suited scaffold for heart tissue, other plans show promise for other medical uses. Namely, the “cylindrical, hollow structure of the stem” of the jewelweed plant could be used as a graft for an artery. Additionally, wood from trees “might be useful in bone engineering,” due in part to its strength, they wrote.

Plants such as these may provide economic and environmental advantages to the biomedical field. The scientists wrote, “By exploiting the benign chemistry of plant tissue scaffolds, we could address the many limitations and high costs of synthetic, complex composite materials.”

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Scientists Are Hopeful Magnet Technology Will Replace Depression Drug Treatments

Most physicians will avoid technology to give patients a number of drugs to treat conditions like depression and anxiety, and up to two-thirds of patients won’t respond to their first medication. Another 10 to 30 percent of these same patients will never respond to drugs as therapy. However, NeuroQore hopes to replace medications with these magnetic pulses and believes it may be onto something with initial tests.


Co-founder Mehran Talebinjad stated, “We have an 87.5 percent remission success rate over drug-resistant depression. The startup is in the initial stages with only a small amount of subjects, but similar brain wave technology has been around to treat mental conditions since the 90s. Neurofeedback started up to help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, different types of addiction, and impulse control. It is mainly used in clinics or social work professions where medications are not the first method of therapy, and works by stimulating parts of the brain to send a positive signal whenever a desired mood is achieved.

When an acceptable brainwave pattern occurs, the neurofeedback machine sends a cheerful tone (positive feedback) into the patient’s ears, which hopefully causes the brain to prolong that desirable brainwave pattern. Over time, the brain is trained to prolong a healthy brain wave pattern permanently. NeuroQore is based on rTMS technology. It works in a somewhat different way than other neurofeedback. Rather than sending cheerful tones through the ears to train the brain, it uses the magnetic pulses to send those tones directly into the brain to create positive feedback by itself.

NeuroQore also measures its results with biomarkers as physical evidence. Unlike with communicational therapy or medications, this takes out some of the guesswork of if and where the brain might be improving. According to NeuroQore and another source we asked who uses neurofeedback, there are also no side effects to these types of treatments. However, the downside is this type of treatment may also not work for everyone.

Talebinjad, who has a degree in biomedical engineering, came up with the idea after performing his first brain surgery. He stated, “Neuromodulation is super important and the brain is so complex. I realized during this surgery there wasn’t a lot of effective approaches out there.” NeuroQore is already approved in Canada, where its headquarters is in Ontario. The next challenge for Talebinjad and his team is getting FDA approval, though he says he does have a line out there. He anticipates setting up brain centers where patients can go and get the therapy throughout California soon.

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Wearing black headsets with tentacle-like sensors stretched over their foreheads, the competitors stare at cubes floating on computer screens as their small white drones prepare for takeoff..the next generation of the tech sector.

“Three, two, one … GO!” the announcer hollers, and as the racers fix their thoughts on pushing the cubes, the drones suddenly whir, rise and buzz through the air.

A competition – billed as “the world’s first drone race involving a brain-controlled interface” included 16 pilots that used pure willpower to navigate drones through a 10-yard dash over an indoor basketball court at the University of Florida. In A report by The Associated Press organizers hoped to make an annual inter-collegiate spectacle, including advancements in thing like aerial moves, challenges and a trophy that puts the brain on a pedestal.

“BCI was a technology that was geared specifically for medical purposes, and in order to expand this to the general public, we actually have to embrace these consumer brand devices and push them to the limit.”

Scientists have been able to identify brainwaves for more than a century, and mind-controlled technology already is helping paralyzed people move limbs or robotic prosthetic. How does the technology deliver an abstract thought through the digital receptacles and into the real world?

Each EEG headset is calibrated to pinpoint the electrical activity associated with certain thoughts in each wearer’s brain. For example, something like a recording where neurons fire when the wearer imagines pushing a chair across the floor.

Programmers create the code to translate these “Imaginary motion” signals into commands that computers push through to the drones. Professor Juan Gilbert, whose computer science students organized the race, is opening the doors to other universities to put together brain-drone racing teams for 2017. He’s creating interest in a technology whose opportunity seems held back only by the imagination.

“One day you could wear a brain-controlled interface device like you wear a watch, to interact with things around you,” Gilbert said.

An Ohio man using only his thoughts, recently was able to move his paralyzed hand simply based on a chip implanted in his brain. The idea of collegiate brain-drone races has built intrigue for people like Dr. Bin He, a biomedical engineer at the University of Minnesota. He first demonstrated a mind-controlled drone in public in 2013.

“We are getting closer and closer to broad application.” But as the technology moves toward wider adoption, ethical, legal and privacy questions remain unresolved.

The U.S. Defense Department – which uses drones to kill suspected terrorists in the Middle East from vast distances – is looking for military brain-control applications. A 2014 Defense grant supports the Unmanned Systems Laboratory at the University of Texas, San Antonio, where researchers have developed a system enabling a single person with no prior training to fly multiple drones simultaneously through mind control.

In this system, instead of the pilot thinking certain thoughts to move the drones, she looks at a screen with flickering signals, triggering brain activity that translates into specific movements. What tech stocks are about to take advantage of this over the next 5 years.

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