Tag Archives: replace

Rabbits pilot wireless medical implants

iStock_000003396050SmallMedical advances over the last several decades have resulted in implantable devices that can improve the quality of human and animal lives. The pacemaker and neurostimulator are two of those devices, and with the help of rabbits, researchers are on their way to making some amazing improvements!

When a patient has one of these devices implanted, it’s understood that they will need follow-up surgeries at certain intervals to replace the battery. Pacemaker, neurostimulator, and spinal cord stimulator batteries last, on average, 5-10 years. But recently, researchers have been able to regulate a rabbit’s heart with a pacemaker that operates off wireless energy! This specific implant is only 3mm long. You can imagine the reduced recovery time after a surgery to implant something this size!

While some doctors are skeptical of life-supporting devices relying on external power, researchers are working to adapt this technology for other types of implants as well. Neurostimulator and spinal cord stimulator batteries tend to be about half the size and thickness of a deck of cards, and often, patients experience a good amount of pain at the battery implantation site. Eliminating the need for a battery for these units could make a huge difference for patients- let’s hope that this technology proves successful!

Do YOU have a battery-powered implant? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts- do you think this technology will help you?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25590-wireless-energy-powers-pacemaker-in-live-rabbit.html#.U4J2ifldWSq

Why computer models can’t replace animals in research

Computer ratIn the field of biomedical research, animal research is an extremely important component in the development of new drugs, vaccines, treatments, and medical procedures. The information learned from animals is responsible for saving and improving the lives of countless people every day.

Some argue that today’s computer models of living systems are complex enough that they should be able to replace the use of animals in research. However, it’s important to understand that computer simulations are based on our existing knowledge of the living body and diseases. This current knowledge- which was gained through animal research- is constantly changing and improving. As animal models are able to provide more insight into disease processes and unlocking genomic information, the latest version of the computer model would quickly become obsolete.

Because of this, computer models by themselves cannot be successful without the information that animal research can contribute. But using computer models along with animal research can certainly help progress medical science. For a better understanding of the importance of animal model research, check out the links below.

http://speakingofresearch.com/extremism-undone/alternatives/

http://speakingofresearch.com/2009/08/03/the-limits-of-computer-simulations/