Saturday, December 19, 2009

SPARE PARTS FOR THE ELDERLY


Advances in science are fast blurring the fine line between fiction and fantasy. Remember the 1970s hit TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man" and the spin-off "Bionic Woman"? These fictitious heroic characters were fitted with bionic spare parts after they were severely injured in accidents.

Fast foward to 2009. Researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK are working on a project (click to watch the video) that will add another 50 years to the life span of those aged 50 and above. The university's bioengineering unit is the world leader in artificial joint replacement research.




The parts that can be fully replaced, hopefully, by 2015. (Graphics: BBC News)


Initially the project will focus on areas most affected by ageing: joints, teeth, spine, heart and circulation. At the centre of this £50 million 5-year project is a technique called 'scaffolding'. It is a method of tissue and medical engineering that strips the living cells from donated human parts, leaving just the collagen of the tissue. This 'scaffold' can then be transplanted into the patient with less risk of rejection which is the main reason for transplant failure.

This is truly exciting stuff and great news for the 50plus. The only drawback for now is that the technique is not applicable to whole organs. Not yet anyway.

3 comments:

CheaHS@n said...

So whatever we see in the movies will one day be real. Can imagine the possibility that one fine day we would be able to "beam" up to another place or planet without taking a flight just like Star Trek?

foodbin said...

pigs have the closest resemblance of our human organs-very close, indeed.

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