Monday, September 16, 2013

Yikes! Robo maggots for brain surgery!


Good Day World!

What better way to start your Monday talking about maggots! Before you get too repelled by the subject, try keeping an open mind.

First off, maggots have been used since antiquity as a wound treatment. The interesting thing is maggots have been reintroduced into the medical field.

Here we are in the 21st century, and maggots are once again playing a vital roll in fighting infections. Their ability to eat away dead tissue is the prime reason they’re enjoying this renaissance in the medical field. They’ve been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2004.

So what do you say? Let’s hear it for the lowly maggot, which my basic training DI called me and other trainees back in the day. We should start a maggot fan club. What do you think? Twitter trendy? 

Creepy, crawly maggots might be making their way into people's brains. Robot maggots, that is. Inspired by a TV show where plastic surgeons use maggots to eat away dead tissue, neurosurgeon J. Marc Simard of the University of Maryland School of Medicine has been developing a prototype for a larvae-esque robot that could get eat away at a brain tumor from the inside.

Initial Prototype

The bendy maggot-bot can zap tumors with an electrocautery tool, then suction out the dead tissue. It can be controlled remotely, making it possible for the surgeon to monitor the tumor and direct the robot to certain tissue while the patient is undergoing an MRI.

During brain surgery, it's often hard for surgeons to distinguish between the boundaries of healthy tissue and tumor tissue without the help of an MRI, and you can't exactly do a full brain surgery on someone when they're locked away in a cramped MRI scanner. Full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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