Diagnosed With Serious Illnesses Biology Essay

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Abstract

Haven't you ever wondered how your life would change if you had a life-threatening disease? Millions of people around the world each year are diagnosed with serious illnesses that usually lead to the loss of a major organ. Unfortunately, there are not enough donors available for every single patient. The human body's structure is very intricate, and because of this organ transplanting also becomes very difficult. These substitute organs can be made out of metal, plastic, string, or any other material that allows for the part to function. The impact of these bioengineering parts could be enormous as it could save the majority of the people who die for these types of diseases. Several organs have been designed, constructed, ameliorated, and inputted into the body. These organs will be explained in the following essay.

Organ Implants

Description

Present Technology

There are many diseases that are associated with the human lungs, such as lung cancer. Scientists are making an effort to make artificial lungs which could eventually be implanted into a human body. Scientists are trying to make a mechanism that can imitate the functions of the lung, which are to supply the body with oxygen. Scientists have already been able implant artificial lungs into lab rats. Now, this same thing must be done with humans. This would be very useful to patients who are not able to find donor in time. Although, this may not be a permanent transplant, it does provide some time for a donor to be found. It could also give time for the lungs of patients to recover. This fantastic piece of engineering is also useful for patients since it allows one to be able to recover from home instead of the hospital. The artificial lung allows patients to be mobile, meaning that they do not have to lie in bed all day. This implant would be very intricate because the lungs have two parts combined into one strand. The lungs could lead to the future in research.

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The artificial stomach is a magnificent piece of engineering. The stomach is an organ that scientists do not know much about. But by using this machine, scientists hope to fill some of these blanks. Although hard to believe, this artificial stomach is made out of only metals and plastics. This model is too big to actually be implanted into a human, but scientists are trying their best to reduce its size. Despite its enormous size, it does not have the same capacity of a human stomach. It has a much smaller capacity. This is really surprising, considering how big it is. As of right now, they have only been able to develop a machine that can imitate the functions of a human stomach. It is not yet ready to be used by a human being. As mentioned before, a small enough model has not been constructed to imitate all of the stomach's functions. The stomach is too complex for a smaller model to be created. Although, this will not be a complete implant, it will help scientists find cures for many of the stomach-related diseases including gastric cancer. This prototype for the artificial stomach has many parts. First, food that is eaten will combine with digestive enzymes. Then, the food will get crushed and simplified down into tiny bits, through the use of a metal tube inside the machines. Scientists are trying as hard as they can to ensure that this artificial stomach resembles a human stomach as much as possible. The artificial stomach must is able to endure the digestive enzymes and acids that are inside a normal human stomach. If this artificial stomach was actually used by a human, it would be extremely beneficial to his/her diet. Research currently ongoing to find a way to control a person's fat intake. This could be a large breakthrough to solving the issue of obesity. It could also reduce the chance of many other health concerns, such as diabetes and heart disease. Something call super-nutrients is involved. These super-nutrients are useful because they reduce the amount of food that one consumes. They could make the artificial stomach think that it is full even though it may have not reached its maximum capacity. Hopefully, in the future, this prototype will be reduced into a simpler and smaller form which can easily be inserted into the human body.

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Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco are developing an artificial kidney. This artificial kidney is supposed to carry out the same functions and processes that a normal human kidney will. This could be an alternative for patients who suffer kidney related diseases and need a new kidney. Such diseases include End Stage Renal Disease. One solution to this could be dialysis. But, problems with dialysis are that it is time consuming and that it does not replace all of the functions of a human kidney. Dialysis is when contaminants, waste, and excess water are removed from the bloodstream without the use of the kidney. Patients usually have to get this done three times a week. This process could last for a couple of hours (usually up to four). This can show how time consuming it is be to remove the waste artificially. With the use of the artificial kidney, this process can be done faster since it will act as a real kidney. Unlike dialysis, the artificial kidney will provide continuous therapy 24/7. Patients would not have to get dialysis done every week or so and can continue with their regular lifestyle. Also, patients that face serious kidney injuries may not be able to find a kidney donor. There are two stages for how this kidney functions. Just like a regular human kidney, this will remove contaminants from the bloodstream and also regulate fluid inside the body. This filtration of the blood is achieved through the filters that are embedded within the artificial kidney. These filters are extremely tiny and are hard to see with the naked eye. Engineers and scientist were able to make it so that these filters are microscopic. Although, this model cannot yet be implanted into a human body, scientists are using different technologies and materials to ensure that it soon can be implanted. The prototype is pretty big. But research is being done to reduce it to a smaller size. This artificial kidney should be as close to a normal kidney as possible to ensure that the patients can continue with a regular life. How the artificial kidney will get its power is the question. Well, the artificial kidney will be connected to blood vessels and will use blood pressure as its main power source. The artificial kidney will amaze thousands of people since it will prevent the difficulties of undergoing an actual kidney transplant. This device will only be inserted into the body. It will not be an actual transplant. The unhealthy kidney will still remain. The artificial kidney is a miracle of nanotechnology and will soon help millions worldwide.

Heart related deaths account for more than 25% of the total American deaths, which is one of the reasons why the artificial heart was one of the first organs developed by biomedical engineers. The heart's basic function is to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body. This blood is attained from the lungs and pumped throughout the body. Although this function does not sound complicated, the heart is a very intricate part that includes four chambers, several valves, an aorta, and two other arteries. All these parts are squeezed into a space the size of a fist which makes the reconstruction of the heart an almost impossible task. Biomedical engineers successfully created an artificial heart made out of plastic that had all the parts of a regular human heart would have. This heart alone costs over $1 million and is used in a very few amount of people. A heart similar to this was used in one of the most famous people in the United States, former vice-president Dick Cheney. Cheney has had several heart related problems and a massive heart attack required him to implant a different heart. Although he may have successfully received this treatment, he has to check his heart regularly because these hearts often cause clots. These clots can be fatal and many times the heart is replaced because of deterioration of the heart. However, not everyone has the type of money people like Dick Cheney has, so a new device had to be made in order for the common person to afford this type of treatment. Also artificial hearts are in short supply so a new device called the ventricular assist device is surgically implanted into the patient's own heart to improve its ability to pump blood. This device is implanted into the middle of the upper chambers near the aorta. This device will increase the possibilities of recovery without the need of an entire implant. This will cost less, however this method also has its consequences. The device often caused strokes due to blood clots, so the patient has to keep caution at all times. In order to prevent this engineers are working to perfect a design. The ventricular assist device has not officially been approved by the FDA or the NIH and is thought to be still in process of creation. The eyes can be one of the most delicate parts of the body and recent studies show that eye sight has become worse on average. One of the reasons why the eye can be very fragile is that inside the small ball are several small parts that can easily be damaged. The eye includes the cornea the farthest part out of the eye. Next after the cornea, the aqueous humor, or the anterior chamber, is located. After the chamber, the main inside of the eye is located including the pupil, lens, and retina. The outside of the eye consists of ciliary muscle, zonular fibres, a choroid, and a sclera. The eyes are used a lot everyday while using the computer, reading, and watching TV and many scientists say excessive use of the eyes can damage these parts of the eye. Some scientists are saying that this is causing more and more people are using glasses, while others are even losing their vision. Although there are several surgeries that can be done to improve eye sight, not all of them are guaranteed to have positive results and have many risks. In order to improve vision with an almost guaranteed result a device was constructed by biomedical engineers called the implantable telescope. However, this implant is not for a common person. This implant is for patients that have a disease called macular degeneration. This disease prevents a portion of the retina does not function properly. This part is called the Macula, which takes light that comes into the eye and refracts to a place on the retina that has not been affected by the disease (a non-macular area). The telescope helps the patient to see yet again and allows for peripheral vision. Another common ailment that has spread throughout the United States is astigmatism. Astigmatism is a problem in the eye that causes a persons cornea to be not evenly shaped. This causes a part of the eye to focus, while the other part may not causing blurriness. This ailment can be cured by reshaping the cornea to make a more circular shape and allow light to correctly focus the retina. A device called the microkeratome, or a mechanical shaver that cuts the cornea into a circular shape. A laser is then used to precisely cut the cornea into the correct shape. This type of biomedical engineering is very common and has been practiced many times. The common name for this type of surgery is often called a type of Lasik surgery. Biomedical engineering is reaching new heights with new techniques with organs of the body like the eye.

History

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Although biomedical engineering is a new type of research, the basis of biomedical engineering has existed for thousands of years. An ancient roman civilization was found with a man with a wooden prosthetic tied to its foot to serve as a big toe. Egyptians also invented many devices to help them in human life including a device similar to a reed that helped them listen to internal organs. Throughout history, biomedical engineering has occurred and affected society in a fantastic way. World War I and World War II played big roles during this emergence of biomedical engineering. Several laboratories were opened to help soldiers who were in need of several organs. Amputation became the only solution and the soldiers were put into pain, pain that would change their lives for ever. Change had to be made and their research in specifically biophysics and medical physics continued. Modern day biomedical engineering originated from a mixture of biophysics and medical physics. With the need of organs and donations at minimum, scientists began to explore their options. After years of work an artificial heart was created and this spurred the biomedical engineering movement. Soon fields opened and institutions were opened just for biomedical engineering. Organizations opened and universities created programs just for this study. Duke University became one of the leaders in this movement. This movement has led up to present day and this study is still booming to the future of medicine.

Future Technology

The students at Duke University, a leading university in Biomedical engineering, recently created a robot that could detect certain parts of human blood which can soon help in many operations including Prostate and other cancers. The robot, when improved, will be able to coordinate throughout the body and will be able to detect the problems the body is facing. This is a significant invention and can lead to a historic part of biomedical engineering transplants in the future. In the next twenty years this could lead to all new organs for every part of the body. Robots could find the problems in the body and even replace the organ with a human made organ. If the robots successfully find the problem and create the organ, then the lives of many people in the future will be saved. Before the robots are created however, other breakthroughs that are created by humans must be accomplished.

Breakthroughs

Although there is a robot that can cure organ needs for the rest of our lifetime which is in production, there are still many breakthroughs yet to be found. For example, even though there are many organs that have already been designed and created, the size of these prototypes must be reduced in order to function inside of the human body. This would be a major breakthrough since these organs would finally be implantable.

Design Process:

One of the many alternatives to organ implants is surgery. For example, Lasik surgery can fix many of the eyes problems including astigmatism and other ailments. Some people choose to use implants with the telescope. Although this is very rare it improved vision for those who need it. Another alternative is getting a donation instead of using a human made organ. There are many consequences for receiving a donation including the fact that the body parts are already used and that alternative organs are hard to come by. The last alternative is to use a new line of research that can cure and fix damaged capsules and cells. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts have developed organ cells that can replace and fill in the missing parts of an organ. Although this is a promising new research, it is still a narrow alternative that has hope for the future.

Consequences

The cost of many of these organs is incredibly high and many people cannot afford these organs. This leads these organs from almost no use and can only be used on the rich. Another negative side is that the organs often have to be replaced due to their decay and deterioration. The organs can also lose its shape which can lead to catastrophic consequences. The heart specifically can often clot which can lead to stroke. However, there are several positives after doing this operation. One can live a long life with an implant because it is possible for the organ to last with attention and caution. This also means that many people can live healthier lives and can help their families.