Every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using LAL, a substance found only in horseshoe crab blood. Every single person in America who has ever had an injection has been protected by this ‘forgettable’ sea creature.
Horseshoe crabs aren’t really crabs, but they are super old, super cool, and they deserve your respect. Because they may have already saved your life. SciShow explains!
Human Experimentation: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
In the early days of the space race, agency researchers in Russia and at NASA really weren’t sure all what would happen to an astronaut in space. They didn’t know if a human mind could handle actually seeing Earth or what would happen to the human body when exposed to long periods of weightlessness. Would their blood forget which way to pump? Would their eyeballs shift or their inner ears wig out? They sent up mice and monkeys and dogs, to see what happened, and in 1961, the Russians strapped a man to a rocket headed for orbit. Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space. The ultimate human guinea pig, he survived, becoming an international hero.
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Hallucinogens as Medicine
Is it possible that, because of the war on drugs, we have demonized a treatment for otherwise untreatable diseases? A way to increase personal well-being, permanently treat depression, break the cycle of addiction, and ease the transition from life into death? The solution to all of these problems (for many people) might be a nice, hallucinogenic trip, but taking that trip can be harder than you might think.
References for this episode can be found in the Google document here: http://dft.ba/-5R3l
Magical Medicinal Maggots
Although it may sound crazy, many doctors use maggots today to clean wounds of dead and infected tissue. This process, called debridement, is important for preventing the spread of infection in a world of increasing antibiotic resistance. Hank has more details on the marvelous maggot in today’s episode of SciShow.
Hank gives you the facts on stem cells - what they are, what they’re good for, where they come from, and how they’re used in medicine.
3D Printing & the Future of Stuff
What if instead of going to the store to buy a new toilet brush, all you had to do was walk into your office and print one out? With recent advances in 3D printing, such a scenario might not be as far away as you think.
Special thanks to Ben Malouf of Acuity Design for letting us take some footage of his awesome 3D printers! Check them out at http://acuitydesign.co
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Trouble with a capital TB
The history of tuberculosis is long and terrible. The lung disease, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is highly infectious. The bacterium is easily spread within aerosolized droplets produced by the coughing, sneezing, laughing or talking of carriers.
One-third of the world’s population is thought to have been infected with M. tuberculosis (pictured above). New infections occur at a rate of about one per second. In 2010, there were an estimated 8.8 million new cases, mostly in developing countries, with more than 1.5 associated deaths.
Antibiotics have been the primary treatment of TB, but increasingly, strains of drug-resistant M. tuberculosis are making that fight more difficult. Indeed, cases of multidrug-resistant TB are on the rise. A new study in the journal The Lancet underscores the seriousness of the threat.
The study, led by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the effectiveness of second-line drugs in patients with TB who were already resistant to primary drugs like rifampin and isoniazid.
Currently, public health officials assume that roughly 5 percent of TB cases are resistant to the most common antibiotic treatments. The latest CDC report suggests that may be a gross underestimation, especially in second- and third-world countries. In Minsk, Belarus, for example, CDC scientists say almost half of newly reported tuberculosis infections last year were resistant to common drugs.
The growing TB crisis is fueled by its easier spread in places already ravaged by the concurrent HIV epidemic, which has left millions of people with compromised immune systems unable to fend of a TB infection.