A team of University of California, Riverside researchers have developed a novel transparent skull implant that literally provides a “window to the brain”, which they hope will eventually open new treatment options for patients with life-threatening neurological disorders, such as brain cancer and traumatic brain injury.
The team’s implant is made of the same ceramic material currently used in hip implants and dental crowns, yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). However, the key difference is that their material has been processed in a unique way to make it transparent.
Since YSZ has already proven itself to be well-tolerated by the body in other applications, the team’s advancement now allows use of YSZ as a permanent window through which doctors can aim laser-based treatments for the brain, importantly, without having to perform repeated craniectomies, which involve removing a portion of the skull to access the brain.
The work also dovetails with President Obama’s recently-announced BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, which aims to revolutionize the understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders. The team envisions potential for their YSZ windows to facilitate the clinical translation of promising brain imaging and neuromodulation technologies being developed under this initiative.
“This is a case of a science fiction sounding idea becoming science fact, with strong potential for positive impact on patients,” said Guillermo Aguilar, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE).
Aguilar is part of 10-person team, comprised of faculty, graduate students and researchers from UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering and School of Medicine, who recently published a paper “Transparent Nanocrystalline Yttria-Stabilized-Zirconia Calvarium Prosthesis” about their findings online in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.
Laser-based treatments have shown significant promise for many brain disorders. However, realization of this promise has been constrained by the need for performing a craniectomy to access the brain since most medical lasers are unable to penetrate the skull. The transparent YSZ implants developed by the UC Riverside team address this issue by providing a permanently implanted view port through the skull.
“This is a crucial first step towards an innovative new concept that would provide a clinically-viable means for optically accessing the brain, on-demand, over large areas, and on a chronically-recurring basis, without need for repeated craniectomies,” said team member Dr. Devin Binder, a clinician and an associate professor of biomedical sciences at UC Riverside.
Although the team’s YSZ windows are not the first transparent skull implants to be reported, they are the first that could be conceivably used in humans, which is a crucial distinction. This is due to the inherent toughness of YSZ, which makes it far more resistant to shock and impact than the glass-based implants previously demonstrated by others. This not only enhances safety, but it may also reduce patient self-consciousness, since the reduced vulnerability of the implant could minimize the need for conspicuous protective headgear.
This is at UCR! Also, I’ve talked with Dr. Aguilar several times and he’s pretty chill :3 I was going to take his graduate Fluid Mechanics class, but it conflicts with Real Analysis ><
UNABLE TO NOT REBLOG
NEED TO REBLOG
The Incredible Attention Span of Severus Snape…
dude you’ve been “teaching” there since you were 21
and you just now noticed
Dumbledore’s magnificent double agent ladies and gentlemen
I know he’s actually reacting to what Dumbledore is saying, he’s not paying any attention to the candles, but this makes me snort every single time all the same.
WHY ARENT THERE ADULT-SIZED PLAYGROUNDS
LIKE EVERYTHING IS THE SAME AS A KIDS PLAYGROUND
WHY DO WE NOT HAVE THOSE
theme parks. just. theme parks.
but u have to pay for theme parks
that’s the adult part
son of a bitch
ladies and gentlemen, behold
the St. Louis City Museum:
Playground for adults and children.
They even serve alcohol.
THE best place on the fucking planet!!
9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact
WOW. Okay. All the more reason to move out of this country when I can. Well, from looking at this, if I ever can.
I’m making $0.50 over minimum wage
I’m scheduled for one day this week and I can’t find a second job
I’m trying to study abroad
I’m fucked even if I stay in the states to finish college
that’s fucked up wow
First came across this concept in my sociology classes. Great graphic representation. Watch it. Get angry. Get active.
I want out of this country. That’s so fucked up.
Literally the best explanation of the inequitable distribution of wealth in the USA. I love the calm tone, straightforward graphics, and clear concise explanation of the information that’s being presented. The purpose is not to stir people into angry mobs or work us into a frenzy of rage, but rather to bring information to the forefront and treat us like we’re rational beings with the ability to make real change based on the information presented to us.
Something else I’d be interested in knowing more about, relative to this video, would be the distribution of things like hours worked to obtain that share of money (since salaried employees aren’t paid hourly - do they tend to work more or less on average, some people gain their money through things like inheritance or investments, people in mid to lower class pay-grades sometimes work multiple jobs, and a large portion of people on this chart should theoretically be unemployed based on what I know about our current state of affairs.) I’d also be interested in the distribution of money paid in order to obtain things like education and certifications and training for their profession, to see if those kind of investments really do pay off.
I’d also love to know more about what can be done to make adjustments toward a more equitable system. (Perhaps more toward peoples’ perceptions of where we’re at - at least for now.) I know many people believe that it should be the government’s job to redistribute this wealth through things like taxation and programs to aid the poor, however I’d love to see this problem solved pre-emptively. Rather than taking money from people that they already feel they’ve earned and are entitled to, and creating resentment and anger there, I’d like to see the initial payouts shift. That way they money doesn’t even need to pass through the government at all, cutting out the middle man and not running the risk of those tax dollars being funneled off into something else entirely. What can we as citizens of this country opposed to this current state of affairs do to make this change? I don’t think that getting dramatically angry (with things like protests or raging hatefully) or leaving the country will help, we need to act intelligently to help shape our futures in the manner we see fit.