Celebrating our big-brained friends with Chiari Malformation this month! With a brain too big for your head, you’re just too smart for your own good!


Did you know Chiari Malformation is a structural defect of the skull, brain and/or spinal cord? A common form of Chiari is when brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Stay in your spot, brain!

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Organ Care System.

In an organ transplant surgery, timing is critical. Doctors drop organs into a plastic bag and put them on ice. But lungs soon stop breathing. Hearts stop beating. The organs essentially shut down and start to deteriorate. This means doctors have only about five to 10 hours to get the lung from the donor into the recipient. If the travel time is too long, the organ can’t be used and goes to waste. An Andover company known as TransMedics came up with world’s first commercial, portable, warm blood perfusion system that allows a new type of organ transplant, called a living organ transplant. This new technology, called an Organ Care System, is designed to maintain organs in a warm, functioning state outside of the body to optimize their health and allow continuous clinical evaluation. Hearts beat, lungs breathe, kidneys produce urine and livers produce bile. The device is currently not FDA approved but is undergoing clinical testing.

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Fig 1. In 2008, bioengineers at the University of Minnesota stripped rat hearts of cells using detergent – you can see the results of three trials here. This process left untouched the blood vessels, collagen, and various proteins that compose the heart’s physical structure.

Fig 2. The ghost heart is flushed with red dye to show that major and minor blood vessels were left intact.

Fig 3. A researcher injects the ghost heart with heart cells from newborn mice.

Fig 4. Researchers adjusted the environmental conditions to simulate natural conditions, meaning they provided oxygenate fluids, pressure, and an electrical stimulus. You can see the bioreactor schematic here.

GIF source here. Research paper here. Less technical writeup here. More videos from the lab itself here (Supplementary Movie 1 in particular is pretty awesome).

“#TheFall (Child)” detail - #mixedmedia on paper 27"x52" by @michaelreedyart

#michaelreedy #fall #art #anatomical #artwork #painting #illustration #surreal #darkart #darkbeauty #skull #skeleton #organs #heart #lungs #artist #contemporaryart #fineart #BetweenMirrors

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