Anatomy, Did you know?, Health & Medicine

These rocks in your head keep you balanced

calcium_carbonate_ear

The beautiful colored image above might look like beach pebbles, yet in reality it shows a glimpse from an even tinnier world – it’s a colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of calcium carbonate deposited on the surface of an otolith, found in the Acoustic Macula. These tiny debris also fit a purpose, helping the body stay in equilibrium, whether in static (position of the head) or dynamic equilibrium (relative position function of linear acceleration)…

Anatomy, News

Boy born without ears has a pair made from his ribs

Kieran-Sorkin-from-Watfor-011

Nine-year-old Kieran Sorkin was born without ears, but now, doctors made him a pair of ears from his own ribs. Kieran suffered from a rare condition in which his ears didn’t fully form – he had just small lobes where his ears should have been. He was almost deaf, but thanks to several previous procedures, his hearing slowly started to function, especially when using a hearing aid. Now, this surgery was mostly cosmetic, but it was a spectacular one. “I’ve always wanted big ears, and now I’m finally going to have them.”, he said. Following the procedure his parents helped him to take a photograph of his newly crafted ear,…

Anatomy, Health & Medicine, News

Better, simple way to regrow damaged corneas shines hope for blind patients

restored_cornea

A novel and highly effective technique was found to enhance regrowth of human corneal tissue to restore vision, using a newly identified molecule that acts as a marker for limbal cells – stem cells that are paramount to retinal regeneration. The findings could greatly improve the vision of patients suffering from severe burns, victims of chemical injury, and others with damaging eye diseases. Eyeing elusive stem cells A healthy, transparent ocular surface is made up of non-keratinized, stratified squamous epithelium that is highly differentiated. The corneal epithelium is constantly renewed and maintained by the corneal epithelial stem cells, or limbal stem cells (LSCs) that are presumed to reside at the…

Anatomy, Biology, Health & Medicine, News, Nutrition

The ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut are subjective to lifestyle, hunter-gatherer study shows

Hadza women roasting tubers. © Alyssa Crittenden

You could be sitting alone and still be completely outnumbered for your body is home to trillions upon trillions of tiny passengers – bacteria. In fact, there as ten times more bacteria living inside you then cells in the body. Don’t get scared, though. The vast majority of these co-redident organisms are our friends. They help us digest food, provide energy and break down nasty stuff that ocassionaly wind up in our stomachs. As our diet has diversified, however, so has our gut microbiome configuration. A recent study which looked at what kind of bacteria dwell in the guts of people belonging to a hunter-gatherer community in Tanzania demonstrates this…

Anatomy, Health & Medicine

Sitting in the Office – the Right Way

sit better at the office

If you often reach the end of a working day and find yourself feeling fatigued, it might not be your deadlines or your workload that’s the problem. Sitting at a desk all day is widely known to be a cause of joint and muscle fatigue, but the problem is so common that the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) now cite it as the UK’s leading cause of absence from work. We all accept the odd twinge here and there, the stiffening of joints that have been immobile all day, but the pain and discomfort caused by a poor seating position can mean more than simply a day or two…

Anatomy, Biology, Discoveries, Health & Medicine, News, Research

Newly discovered microRNA may help diagnose lung cancer

lung_cancer

Researchers at the National Research Foundation of Korea report on Sunday that they have identified a new microRNA molecule that suppresses a gene, which previous research had identified as playing a crucial role in lung cancer development. If the present findings are refined, it may be possible to diagnose lung cancer in the future based on this genetic marker. MicroRNAs constitute a recently discovered class of non-coding RNAs that play key roles in the regulation of gene expression. Acting at the post-transcriptional level, these fascinating molecules may fine-tune the expression of as much as 30% of all mammalian protein-encoding genes. Their aberrant expression may be involved in human diseases, including cancer,…

Anatomy, Biology, Health & Medicine, News

Old organ regenerated to youthful state in elderly mice using gene manipulation

mouse age reversal

The popular myth of the fountain of youth tells the story of a magical spring that restores youth to anyone who drinks from it. Scientists working with longevity research have made important strides forward in recent years, however all of these efforts concentrate on prolonging life and slowing the effects old age has on the body, not reversing them. A breakthrough by researchers at University of Edinburgh may cause a paradigm shift in regenerative medicine after an old organ in elderly mice was regenerated into a youthful state, simply by manipulating a single gene. The thymus is a specialized organ in the immune system. The functions of the thymus are…

Anatomy

Ending decades of controversy, researchers find histological evidence for the existence of the G-spot

gspot

It’s one of the more… delicate issues of science and anatomy, and amidst lots of contradicting personal testimonies and surprisingly little scientific evidence, the G-Spot remains a topic of hot debate. In other words, some claimed it exists, some claimed it’s all a fairytale, but there was no “hard evidence” – one way or another. Now, researchers have finally found histological evidence that the Gräfenberg spot actually exists – in other words, they found the tissue. The study itself isn’t very appealing – they focused the research on eight female cadavers and conducted vaginal wall dissections and ultimately G-spot microdissections. The anatomical existence of the G-spot was identified in all…

Anatomy, Biology, Health & Medicine, News

Most advanced lab-grown muscle can self-heal, mouse implant shows

Strands of engineered muscle fiber, stained different colors to observe growth after implantation into a mouse. Duke University

Heralded as one of the biggest advances in the field, scientists at Duke University have engineered muscle tissue that is up to ten times stronger than anything previously achieved. The muscle can contract similarly to native neonatal skeleton muscle and, most importantly, it demonstrates self-healing ability – again, just like the real thing. To demonstrate their work, the researchers also implanted the muscles in bionic mice and followed the muscle fibers as they grew through a window on the back of the living animal. “The muscle we have made represents an important advance for the field,” said Nenad Bursac, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke. “It’s the first time…

Anatomy, Health & Medicine, News

First complete cranium replacement performed using 3D printing

3d-printed-skull

Many herald 3-D printing as a new wave set to revolutionize manufacturing in the 21 century. I fully agree in most respects, however the benefits medicine can achieve through this technology haven’t been stressed enough, maybe. There’s a pen that 3-d prints bone directly on lesion sites, 3d printed skin or prosthetic. It’s the field of medical implants, however, where 3d printing is proving to become a game changer. For instance, surgeons in Holland recently replaced the cranium of 22 year-old woman with a custom built synthetic version that fits the patient perfectly – a procedure otherwise extremely difficult if not impossible to perform. The woman from a rare form of…