Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is sort of creepy. But it’s okay, I know Jessica Nigri. I mean, I don’t like know her, but I know her soul.
The idea behind this radical new treatment came from Africa, specifically from a slave named Onesimus, who shared his knowledge with Cotton Mather,…
For those most severely affected, treating epilepsy means drilling through the skull deep into the brain to destroy the small area where the seizures originate – invasive, dangerous and with a long recovery period.
Five years ago, a team of Vanderbilt engineers wondered: Is it possible to address epileptic seizures in a less invasive way? They decided it would be possible. Because the area of the brain involved is the hippocampus, which is located at the bottom of the brain, they could develop a robotic device that pokes through the cheek and enters the brain from underneath which avoids having to drill through the skull and is much closer to the target area.
To do so, however, meant developing a shape-memory alloy needle that can be precisely steered along a curving path and a robotic platform that can operate inside the powerful magnetic field created by an MRI scanner.
The engineers have developed a working prototype, which was unveiled in a live demonstration this week at the Fluid Power Innovation and Research Conference in Nashville by David Comber, the graduate student in mechanical engineering who did much of the design work.
The business end of the device is a 1.14 mm nickel-titanium needle that operates like a mechanical pencil, with concentric tubes, some of which are curved, that allow the tip to follow a curved path into the brain. (Unlike many common metals, nickel-titanium is compatible with MRIs). Using compressed air, a robotic platform controllably steers and advances the needle segments a millimeter at a time.
According to Comber, they have measured the accuracy of the system in the lab and found that it is better than 1.18 mm, which is considered sufficient for such an operation. In addition, the needle is inserted in tiny, millimeter steps so the surgeon can track its position by taking successive MRI scans.
According to Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Eric Barth, who headed the project, the next stage in the surgical robot’s development is testing it with cadavers. He estimates it could be in operating rooms within the next decade.
To come up with the design, the team began with capabilities that they already had.
“I’ve done a lot of work in my career on the control of pneumatic systems,” Barth said. “We knew we had this ability to have a robot in the MRI scanner, doing something in a way that other robots could not. Then we thought, ‘What can we do that would have the highest impact?’”
At the same time, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Webster had developed a system of steerable surgical needles. “The idea for this came about when Eric and I were talking in the hallway one day and we figured that his expertise in pneumatics was perfect for the MRI environment and could be combined with the steerable needles I’d been working on,” said Webster.
The engineers identified epilepsy surgery as an ideal, high-impact application through discussions with Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery Joseph Neimat. They learned that currently neuroscientists use the through-the-cheek approach to implant electrodes in the brain to track brain activity and identify the location where the epileptic fits originate. But the straight needles they use can’t reach the source region, so they must drill through the skull and insert the needle used to destroy the misbehaving neurons through the top of the head.
Comber and Barth shadowed Neimat through brain surgeries to understand how their device would work in practice.
“The systems we have now that let us introduce probes into the brain – they deal with straight lines and are only manually guided,” Neimat said. “To have a system with a curved needle and unlimited access would make surgeries minimally invasive. We could do a dramatic surgery with nothing more than a needle stick to the cheek.”
The engineers have designed the system so that much of it can be made using 3-D printing in order to keep the price low. This was achieved by collaborating with Jonathon Slightam and Vito Gervasi at the Milwaukee School of Engineering who specialize in novel applications for additive manufacturing.
Hey kids, it’s time for Rewriting History with Judge Andrew Napolitano.
No joke, in the Texas public school system elementary students are taught that tariffs were the reason for the civil war, not slavery. We had an entire curriculum built around it.
Don’t forget that as one of the largest textbook markets, many other states have to buy Texas-approved textbooks. Not only does Texas screw up their own children, but they screw up the kids of other states as well.
I live in Pennsylvania, and I remember learning in elementary school that the real reason for the war was “the economy.”
EDIT: and my stupid ass believed that for an embarrassingly long time.
I live in Wisconsin, and got both versions multiple times from different textbooks and teachers, resulting in general confusion and an aversion to the entirety of 19th century US history (to be fair, that’s also partly due to the fact that the other part of 19th century US history you learn in school is STEAM ENGINE STEAM ENGINE STEAM ENGINE I GET IT ALREADY ENOUGH WITH THE STEAM ENGINE)
The idea that slavery should have been “allowed” to fade away - even if that were a realistic possibility - is essentially saying that he thinks Lincoln was too hasty, that black Americans should’ve had to endure a few more decades of slavery.
That’s monstrous. That’s actually a monstrous thing to suggest.
It’s good to know that we weren’t the only ones driven crazy by people who “axe” questions.
Okay, see, we talked about this linguisitic phenomenon in my grammar class. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it happens with other words, too - my professor used an example of “uncomfortable.” When you say it out loud, most likely, it sounds more like “un-comf-ter-ble,” thus mixing up the position of the r and the t, like how the k and the s are mixed in this speech pattern. However, not many people are out here acting high and mighty because someone said “uncomfterble” like they are with “ax,” and that has absolutely everything to do with academic biases - because “ax” is associated mostly with Black people (and occasionally lower-class whites), it’s viewed as “improper” speech, whereas most people, even middle & upper class white people who are thought to speak the most ~proper~ version of English, say “uncomfterble.”
tl;dr actually caring about whether someone says “ask” ~”correctly”~~ is rooted in racist & classist biases of language so, consider, not.
Most linguistic pedantry is inherently racist in nature.
This will forever be adorable
A skeleton of a mother, and her baby, who both died during her pregnancy.
this is so fucking cool
how on earth is this cool this is literally the remains of a mother and a child she never even got to see. have some respect smh
its cool because its an intact skeleton within an intact skeleton. sad sure, but still cool, get off the pedestal.
they pulling the same gang signs
the skeleton army recruits all ages
Want to attend college for free? It can happen if you learn German.
All German universities are now free to Americans and all other international students. The last German state to charge tuition at its universities struck down the fees this week.
Even before Germany abolished college tuition for all students, the price was a steal. Typically semester fees were around $630. What’s more, German students receive many perks including discounts for food, clothing and events, as well as inexpensive or even free transportation.
In explaining why Germany made this move, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a Hamburg senator, called tuition fees “unjust” and added that “they discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”
Actually, German universities were free up until 2006 when they started charging tuition. That triggered such a crush of criticism that German states began phasing out this policy. Lower Saxony was the last holdout.
It’s too bad that politicians in the U.S. don’t feel that a college education is worth supporting appropriately. State aid to the nation’s public universities took a nosedive during the 2008 recession and education funding remains well below those levels. The average state is spending 23 percent less per student than before the recession, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Actually, state support has been declining for public universities for a quarter of a century. Using an interactive tool from The Chronicle of Higher Education, you can see how state government subsidies have cratered at individual institutions.
With the average undergrad borrower now leaving school with more than $29,000 in debt, the free ride in Germany can look awfully tempting.
How to handle the language barrier
German is not an easy language to learn. Fortunately, however, there are international language programs in Germany, which have become very popular with international students before they tackle obtaining a degree in a different language.
What’s more, an increasing number of German universities are offering degrees in English. These are often called international studies programs or in some other way have the word international in their title.
This is actually making me cry…it’s one of those times when you realize that your own government just truly, honestly, does not give a shit about your wellbeing in any way.
If Americans don’t reblog this, then y’all need help.