On the 6th of March, I along with the fellows of Queen’s Economist attended a lecture by professor Nizam Mamode. The topic, on transplant surgery. The lecture was immediately engaging, professor Nizam mentioned that being a surgeon required for you to be extremely clinical, and your job would make a difference to people’s lives. Professor Nizam began with how people that had damaged kidneys required a dialysis machine to filter a patient’s blood to remove excess water and waste products. He also stated that the dialysis machine itself was very restraining, with a patient on haemodialysis only allowed 750ml of water a day, in comparison, the average person has 2-3 litres every day.
Swiftly professor Nizam move onto ethical dilemmas with transplant surgery. Many people that donate their kidneys will never meet the person that they donate it to, and they cannot sell their organs to the highest bidder. Professor Nizam also questioned us as to whether an operation that had 20% chance of death, would be done by a doctor in the UK, there were various mixed responses, but professor Nizam told us that there was no place in the UK that would undergo this procedure. As the lecture continued, we began to learn that basic immunology was the basis of transplant surgery, and that many experiments to improve the art of transplant surgery are going on at this moment. Ex vivo normothermic perfusion is currently being tested, and is the method of pumping a kidney with warm blood, whilst the ureter is producing urine, all in order to keep the kidney alive. Paediatric transplantation and pancreas transplantation images were shown, and how they can help solve the insulin problem in diabetics. Professor Nizam then questioned us how young can one be to receive a transplant, the answer was 1. This puts into prospective how far transplant surgery has come, that the procedure can be carried out on such a young human.
Then professor Nizam moved onto the technological advancements in transplant surgery, with 3D printing of a donor kidney and its blood vessels, before it was transplanted. The printing allowed the doctors to plan as to how they would carry out the transplant, and make the incisions accordingly. In partnership with Bristol, robot assisted transplant surgery is being made possible. Despite the expensive cost right now, professor Nizam told us that with advancements, the price of the robots is decreasing, and their convenience is increasing.
To conclude, the professor emphasized, the hard work that is put in transplant surgery, and that team work can play a large part in the success of it. Professor Nizam ended with a q&a session. The lecture was very interesting as it unlocked just a small area in the act of surgery, and the insight was invaluable. Professor Nizam also advised future Nobel winners, to research methods of measuring immunosuppressant’s, and the tolerance of the body in accordance to it.
Recently I had attended a lecture by Dr David Cassidy at UCL (9/12/16) on the topic of Anti-Matter, his lecture covered the basics on the topic while also got rid of misconceptions that have arisen with anti-matter in the science community.
One of the main misconceptions that exist at the moment that anti-matter can be used as a viable space rocket fuel. This is simply not true. The idea it can be used as fuel has arisen due to the rise in science fiction movies such as star trek in which antimatter is used as fuel for rockets traversing the universe in speeds unparalleled. One of the basis is that the collision brought about by antimatter and normal matter produce millions of times more even than that of nuclear fission and so would be a way to prepulse a space rockets at unfathomable distances. However this is simply not the case.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that it is impossible to synthesize enough antimatter in order for this kind of propulsion to work. In fact in the 50 years that CERN has been active for has only managed to produce 10 nanograms, is a testimonial to how rare it is. This is the most amount of antimatter produce anywhere. This much anti-matter would be able to power a lightbulb for around a few hours.
It is matter consisting of the elementary particles which are the antiparticles of those within matter.
To be able to see where anti-matter comes from it is from the famous equation:
E=mc² is the equation of special relativity by Einstein however the real equation is
E²=m²c4+p²c² which means that E= √m²c4+p²c²
This results in E= plus or minus mc²
In normal physics there cannot be negative energy so it is only E-mc², but in quantum mechanics negative energy does exists and it is very real. This is where the antimatter comes from.
Antiparticle beams can be created using radioactive materials to gather anti-electrons( positrons)
Positronium molecule: Ps
Is an unstable atomic structure. It is a bound state between electron and its antiparticle positron. These (antimatter) is used for medical purposes, as it allows looking into people's brains, the study of fundamental physics and the understanding of chemistry.
However it will never be useful as an energy source as we cannot make it.
Some questions that are still not answered as we learn more about anti-matter is that why is their only matter? Surely they interact and cancel each other out.
These question and more are reasons why physicists are researching in order to understand the universe more.