By mimicking a technique used by an intestinal parasite of fish, researchers have developed a flexible patch studded with microneedles that holds skin grafts in place more strongly than surgical staples do. After burrowing into the walls of a fish's intestines, the spiny-headed worm Pomphorhynchus laevis inflates its proboscis to better embed itself in the soft tissue. In the new patch (sample shown in main image), the stiff polystyrene core of the 700-micrometer-tall needles (inset) penetrates the tissue; then a thin hydrogel coating on the tip of each needle—a coating based on the material in disposable diapers that expands when it gets wet—swells to help anchor the patch in place. In tests using skin grafts, adhesion strength of the patch was more than three times higher than surgical staples, the researchers report online today in Nature Communications. Because the patch doesn't depend on chemical adhesives for its gripping power, there's less chance for patients to have an allergic reaction. And because the microneedles are about one-quarter the length of typical surgical staples, the patches cause less tissue damage when they're removed, the researchers contend. Besides holding grafts in place, the patch could be used to hold the sides of a wound or an incision together—even, in theory, ones inside the body if a slowly dissolving version of the patch can be developed. Moreover, the researchers say, the hydrogel coating holds promise as a way to deliver proteins, drugs, or other therapeutic substances to patients.
Migration isn't what it used be. The wealthier and better educated dominate the transnational flows. Quality trumps quantity. Immigrants can bring an economic development spark, if you know how to leverage the flow.
Many outsiders looking in at China tend to focus on the group over the individual: the factory floors, the crowded classrooms, the high-speed trains, and the gleaming skyscrapers built to efficiently accommodate and maximize value from a rather...
Our unprecedented connectivity and access to knowledge makes it easier than ever. So let’s look as far into the future as our knowledge allows. Let’s lay out all the known challenges to our existence and opportunities for our evolution. Then, let’s step back and think: Where do we want to take the ongoing human project and why? What are the most important contributions our generation can make during our brief window of existence? And how do we get going?
These are the questions we take head on in this book.
Gil Zamora is an FBI-trained forensics artist with over 3,000 criminal sketches under his belt. Dove (through Unilever's U.K. office) and Ogilvy Brazil hired him to interview and draw seven different women—two sketches of each.
Following projects like the Solar Impulse and NASA’s Helios wing, the idea of propelling aircraft using solar energy isn’t as fanciful as it used to be, even if it’s still experimental and full of practical holes.