Devices that can fix us from the inside – health report – abc radio national (australian broadcasting corporation)

Norman Swan: They’ve been dubbed electro-ceuticals, medical devices that use electrical stimulation to affect bodily functions. Gas bubble in eye We’ve been using them for decades, just think of the pacemaker or the Cochlear implant, they are all part of the field of bio-electronic medicine. Wholesale electricity prices by state But in recent years there has been a push to radically diversify how bio-electronic devices can be used. Electricity bill average Earlier this year the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced a joint venture with Google to develop its tiny computerised implants that would fire electrical signals between the nervous system and your body’s organs. Gas x extra strength vs ultra strength These devices they say could be used to treat a wide range of chronic illnesses, supplanting the need for traditional pharmaceuticals and all their side-effects. Electricity transmission and distribution costs But as Matt O’Neil found out, we are still a long way from being able to produce bio-electronic devices with the finesse required to meet such weighty ambitions.

Jonathan Tapson: Scientists tend to have a very positive approach to these things, and I think we are perhaps not as sceptical as we should be.

Matthew O’Neil: Miniaturised electronic implants hooked up to our nervous system. Electricity in the body causes It’s the stuff of science fiction, but we are talking about contemporary healthcare. U gas station near me The field of bioelectronics is still in its infancy, but companies are pouring millions of dollars into it.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline or GSK recently announced a $713 million partnership with Google to market what are essentially implantable computers that they say could cure a whole range of chronic illnesses, including asthma, diabetes and obesity. Gas in oil pan There is a lot of hype in this area and a lot of money, but does the technology stand up or is it too good to be true?

Paul Breen: Well, in electrical terms they are like hammers really, and I suppose everything we’ve done so far, everything has looked like a nail.

Matthew O’Neil: Dr Paul Breen is a lecturer in biomedical engineering and neuroscience at Western Sydney University, and he touches upon an important point about bio-electronic implants. Electricity meaning They are not exactly new. Gas company Artificial heart pacemakers are categorised as bioelectronics, and they’ve been around for decades. Electricity a level physics They are implanted under the skin and use electrical impulses to regulate the beating of the heart. Gas or electricity more expensive But while the pacemaker channels jolts into a muscle, the devices that GSK and Google want to market would use electrical currents to hit individual nerve fibres. Gas vs diesel mpg That’s a much smaller target.

Jonathan Tapson: Nerves are organised in bundles, and you can think of it as like maybe one of the big Telstra cables under the ground which contains 1,000 wires and is surrounded by a big insulating sheath, that would be equivalent to one of the nerve bundles carrying signals around the body. Electricity outage compensation And at the moment we can stimulate those from the outside with what’s called a cuff electrode, so we put a big electrode around that nerve bundle and we blast it with energy and we get results.

Matthew O’Neil: That was Professor Jonathan Tapson, he’s director of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University. Electricity usage by country Now, an example of the process he described is called vagus nerve stimulation, where electricity is challenged into the vagus nerve located in the neck. Electricity symbols ks2 worksheet This is a nascent form of bio-electronic medicine that has been tested on animals and humans to treat epilepsy and rheumatoid arthritis. Electricity and magnetism purcell It was pioneered by Dr Kevin Tracey, now president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Kevin Tracey: The first time we did the experiment we used a hand-held electrode that I had gotten from the operating rooms, and when we applied this hand-held electrode to the vagus nerve of first rats and then mice and subsequently dogs and even later people, we found in every case that stimulating this pathway that we call the inflammatory reflex was able to control cytokine production.

Matthew O’Neil: Cytokines are molecules that contribute to inflammatory afflictions like rheumatoid arthritis. Electricity bill cost And while these early experiments and indeed much of the research into bioelectronics has been conducted on animals, last month saw the publication of an inhuman study, the first of its kind, and its findings suggested that zapping the vagus nerve could reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Gas city indiana restaurants That’s not a bad result. Electricity measurements units But as Professor Tapson explains, electrocuting an entire nerve bundle can produce all sorts of unintended outcomes.

Jonathan Tapson: The problem is it’s like blasting a giant Telstra cable with power. Gas monkey You don’t just affect the one end user that you might have been trying to signal to, you affect everything that is connected there. Electricity sources in us And a classic example of this is vagus nerve stimulation where you stimulate it for epilepsy but you get any number of weird effects, some of which are now also therapies, I mean, it cures intractable hiccups and it can cure septicaemia, none of which were intentional.

Matthew O’Neil: So it’s all about the finesse. 10 ethanol gas problems But what would it mean if bio-electronic implants could target individual nerve fibres? Dr Breen and Professor Tapson both say it would have enormous implications for modern medicine.

Paul Breen: One is treatment of diabetes and electrical treatment of diabetes without the need for additional insulin. Electricity experiments for high school So if you could create a neural signal, an artificial neural signal like your body already uses to try and maybe coax insulin from the cells for treatment of diabetes, that would be a huge thing if it was achieved. Z gas tijuana telefono And the second one might be obesity. Grade 9 electricity unit review If you had the finesse to make someone feel more or less hungry, the capability of controlling someone’s weight would be a major, major step forward.

Jonathan Tapson: Part of asthma, for example, is muscular constriction of the airways, and that’s triggered primarily by an electrical signal. Electricity projects for 4th graders So if one could learn how to turn that electrical signal off or to provide a kind of antagonistic signal that would nullify the pathological signal, then one could prevent the airway from closing. U gas cedar hill mo And if one could understand the trigger for that closure and once again either nullify it or find an opposing signal to it, one would hopefully be able to even prevent the cascade of problems that leads to the closure of airways and the inflammatory response that is represented by an asthma attack.

Matthew O’Neil: But so far bio-electronic implants tested in humans have not been able to demonstrate the finesse required to treat these chronic illnesses.

Jonathan Tapson: We’d like to penetrate that nerve bundle and find the one particular fibre that carries the signal we care about and just stimulate that, and we have not been able to do that. Npower gas price per unit We can do it but not in a stable and long-lasting way. Electricity usage calculator We can do it for six months or a year or maybe 18 months, but nobody has shown that lasting longer than maybe two years. Wb state electricity board recruitment And that’s a huge issue because you can’t implant something in the body that is only going to work for 18 months. Save electricity pictures And that has been a kind of holy grail for the industry for 15 years and we don’t seem to get any closer to fixing it. Gas kush I think a lot of the hype around this new company is sort of assuming that they will solve that, and in fact my colleagues and I in discussing it, we’ve concluded that their first devices will not be solutions that embody that because it’s too short a time frame.

Norman Swan: Professor Jonathan Tapson from the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University ends that report by Matt O’Neil.