That's really interesting, AandY, how do you think 3D printing may help cancer cells? I guess if doctors could somehow fabricate healthy cells via 3D printing and replace cancerous ones with them, that could be one way. Of course, I am no doctor or medical expert in any way, so that sounds way too simple to actually be possible, I guess! But you're right in that 3D printing opens up a lot of doors fo the medical field.
What is more interesting to me is that it opens new horizons for 3-D technology in the medical field. Several questions like cancerous cells are unanswered still and I wonder if medical engineering and technology using 3-D could help in those cases as well. 3-D has done a lot on the diagnosis side so far.
Great post, Elizabeth, and a lot of good comments already. But I see a point not mentioned, or at least not that I noticed any mention, which is about getting the thing into place. Surgery to expose the heart is a very big deal action, no matter what the benefits would be. So is there some wonderful laproscopic process for placing the stretchable monitor? If there is, I certainly missed it.
But it certainly is an invention that has a lot of benefits to offer.
I juat realized that it was AandY that brough up the point about the heart being stronger, not bobjengr, although it was his story that inspired it. (See my previous comment.) It doesn't matter who said it, really, but the point itself is valid.
Actually, bobjengr, you bring up a good point that I raised in a story I wrote awhile back on the Bionic Man: http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=270180
There is an idea in the medical field that human replacement parts (prosthetics and other artificial parts) are not just making humans equal to the strength they had before the replacement, but actually stronger. So your dad would be a case in point--his heart may be even stronger now not only than his diseased heart, but even the heart he originally had from birth. So then there becomes an ethical question in medicine, whether it's OK to start making people not just whole again human-wise, but even super human.
I think it's quite an interesting debate, but personally think a lot of what medicine is doing in this respect is amazing.
@ bobjengr, good to know your father weathered that valve replacement surgery and has stronger heart now. It seems good to have some heart problem and come out with stronger heart. On a serious note, application of 3-D printing to medical engineering is bearing fruit which is good and has great prospects in future.
Thanks, bobjengr, for your comment and the great story about your dad. I'm so glad to hear things went well and he remains so healthy. Some of these innovations are truly amazing and it's for operations like the one he had that this research is so beneficial. And as you mention, to prevent problems before operations like heart-valve replacements are necessary can lead to an even greater good.
That is a good idea, Greg. I am sure there would be some other considerations to the technology when dealing with the delicate conditions of the brain, but I am sure it could be modified to this area of the body. I just wrote about technology to help people with migraines that is used externally to stimulate a key cranial nerve (stay tuned--the story hasn't posted online yet) so maybe something like that could be modified for internal use for epilepsy or other disorders.
Yes Greg, This is really a vast field and its just the begining . This technology will surely bring wonders in medical sciences and it will be a lot help to the patients who are suffering with chronic diseases .
In addition to applications in the heart area, perhaps other areas of the body could also benefit from this electrical technology. Maybe patients who suffer from certain conditions in the brain (such as epilepsy) could also use the monitoring and sensing provided by this development in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.