Quick Take on: Low-Cost MRIs, Repairing Diseases Organs, and an Artificial Kidney
You know, amidst all the turmoil and uncertainty and volatility that we're experiencing in this economic environment, it's good to be looking to the future, to see where technological innovation is going to be taking us, providing some really exciting opportunities. There's a new computer program called Voyager, and it performed in a concert in New York City this summer. Technology entering the arts. You know, right now two thirds of people worldwide do not have access to MRI machines. These are incredibly important diagnostic tools in the field of healthcare, but they cost $3 million apiece and they need a special room to shield the scanner from outside signals and to contain the magnetic fields that it generates. Now, there's a low-cost alternative. It only costs $20,000 and it produces images that are good enough for most ailments, making MRI technology available to people on a worldwide basis. This will improve the healthcare for billions of people on the planet. Scientists at Cambridge and Caltech have created synthetic mouse embryos with growing brains and beating hearts. And these embryos were produced without sperm. Or eggs. Truly artificial. They hope to extend their work to human development, and that raises far more questions than we can begin to tackle here.
Scientists have suspended tiny glass spheres in a vacuum and made them interact with one another. This is a major advance in probing the everyday world of quantum physics, which governs objects at the atomic scale. If we're able to get atoms to interact with each other at the atomic level. We can radically change virtually every aspect of life on the planet.
Researchers in Japan are testing whether reprogrammed stem cells can repair diseased organs. This could provide radical benefit for people who have failing kidneys or livers or other organs and a huge shortage of donors to provide replacements. Repairing the diseased organs by reprogramming or stem cells could be a faster, cheaper, and safer way to cure disease. Kidney disease affects 15% of adults, and we don't have enough kidneys to meet demand for transplants. Well, there's now a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology. They've created an artificial kidney. It allows patients to skip dialysis and research on this artificial kidney. And human trials are underway. The future can be pretty exciting. We just need to stay focused on it.