The medical discovery that is something not even dreamed of in science fiction is microchip called FlatScope (“flat microscope”) that will affect certain areas of the brain, enable the blind to see; grow heart muscle on spinach leaves; crabs take antidepressants.
It’s 6 am, and I have 15-20 minutes to share some news with you.
THE BLIND REGAIN THEIR SIGHT THANKS TO A CHIP
Yes, this is an example of something not even dreamed of in science fiction; it’s an embedded microchip called FlatScope (“flat microscope”) that will affect certain areas of the brain, and theoretically help the blind to see.
The idea is that a smart microscopic device will monitor and activate neurons, which human vision depends on to receive visual information. It will be, if we’re lucky, a sort of neural interface. And if it’s possible to correctly interpret complex neural reactions involved in the processing of visual information… then a partial restoration of hearing will be a stone’s throw away. One day, we’ll watch the deaf-blind on YouTube see and hear for the first time in their lives.
HEART OF SPINACH
It’s possible in the near future that cardiac surgeons will use the vascular system from plants, and the first step has already been completed. From the spinach leaf, scientists have removed the plant cells, causing it to become translucent, but the cellulose system was preserved. And in regenerative medicine, cellulose is no novelty.
Then, into this not-quite-a-leaf, scientists poured a liquid like blood and placed human heart cells in there.
What were they trying to do? Grow heart muscle on spinach leaves, and then saturate it with blood. Then it might be possible to create contractile muscle to replace dead tissue in the heart. And if this becomes a reality, then it will be a real breakthrough. If not, then spinach is still useful as such. The photography, in any case, looks impressive.
CRABS TAKING ANTIDEPRESSANTS
It’s possible, that Prozac and other medicines make their way into coastal waters. Prozac influences the dynamics of seratonin, which is in turn responsible for emotions and motivation.
Its concentration in water, it would seem, is negligible. However, scientists ran tests on a lab aquarium on whether Prozac had an effect on crabs at an even lesser concentration, and their behavior changed while on antidepressant. They began to zealously look for food in the afternoon and ignore predators, although they usually hid at this time. Furthermore, they started fatally fighting among themselves. Meanwhile, the predator (a larger crab) peacefully ate the smaller crabs that had grown bolder.
Ecologists have long warned that the seas and rivers are taking in pharmaceutical drugs, and in particular hormones. In two years, the town of Kermit in West Virginia received almost nine million opioid pills. Just 400 people live in Kermit.
It’s very easy to disrupt the ecological system with various waste, but at least us ophthalmologists haven’t been accused of it yet.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
“Solomon, how’s your son doing in school?”
“Already better… I’ve been attending parent-teacher meetings under a different name”.