Stem cells are one of the most promising medical discoveries, and they no doubt have the potential to cure many diseases. Many researchers study this area intensively and recently one team of researchers have made a breakthrough. King’s College London is a leading research university that was behind this discovery. They have discovered a way to “energize” the stem cells to fill in cavities, cracks or chips that may affect the teeth. The promise of this breakthrough will make dental cement obsolete, if it gets as far as it can. Dental cement is notoriously inconsistent and has come under fire for how it can fail at times; along with the fact it prevents the tooth from returning to its normal self. Currently the work has been conducted in mice so far, but researchers have found some methods to conduct this on humans. This will be done through a drug.
By showing the potential of how stem cells in the tooth can be stimulated in such a way, chances are that stem cells in other parts of the body can be stimulated as well. To be able to stimulate where the stem cell actually is rather than taking it out, shows just how far stem cell research could take us. Stem cells are found deep inside, and they could produce new dentin, which is the tissue beneath the enamel. At the moment the tooth can only reiterate minor amounts of dentin, and with major incidents, it cannot make up the entire tooth. The research team at KCL discovered molecules, that boosted the stem cells’ ability to stimulate production of dentin, much more than it can do on a normal basis.
The actual research involved tiny holes drilled into mice’s molars to expose the teeth’s pulp. This is where the stem cells are found, and by using a sponge drenched with the boosting molecule inhibitor (GSK-3), cover the tooth. The process took 6 weeks, and showed significant growth with the dentin. Methods of natural repair have been shown. However more studies on rats will take place to ensure that enough dentin can be manufactured to fill larger holes, before studies on humans will take place. There is major promise into how stem cells can change the world of health and medicine.
It is very common for young children to have exposure to mobile devices and tablets, in fact too common. Recent research has indicated that many UK parents find it easier to get their children to do school work, than turn off their mobile devices. It has now become a norm for many small children to regularly use devices at a young age, and to prefer watching television rather than interact with someone else physically. Gone are the days when board games were ones to lose sleep over, and to ask parents for "one more game", now the case is "one more video", and this has shown to be harmful on children. Cambridge University published a study that suggested an extra hour a day of onscreen time unrelated to studies, showed a correlation of poorer GCSE grades. Ofcom also published a distressing report, that suggested young children ranging from three to four spent an average eight hours and 18 minutes online, each week. The effect of negative screen time on a 15 year old was as harmful as not getting regular sleep or missing breakfast.
It should now be urged that children are taught to cut down on screen time, and attempt more physical exercise, as reports have also linked excessive screen time to lead to a gain in weight, which can lead to obesity. Not only does this add to the NHS woes, but with the crisis it is facing, they simply cannot accommodate, such a growth in a negative area. Their mental well-being has also shown to be tapped into, as anxiety is seen as a common trait with those who hide behind screens for most of their day. Eyesight has also weakened with "blue light" from screens, damaging eyesight to an extent.
Studies do not indicate a complete cut off, but to an extent, in which skills are still built through screen time, but not in a way that it leads to negative effects. Screen time can build confidence in young children but also entertain them, whilst they may not like board games, a mobile game every once in a while will not damage their well-being.
Africa has been a continent that has been overshadowed by many other continents, and for time has been at the back end of the line, sadly the continent has been home to many outbreaks of disease, facilitated by the poor medical standards, which is fuelled by the poor economy of many countries. Electricity is not widely available to many people in the world let alone the continent of Africa, with Yale Environment 360 estimating that a total of 1.3 billion people worldwide do not have electricity. With that in account, the world population is tolled at 7.4 billion, this tells us that roughly 17% of the people on Earth are without habitual access to electricity. As the earth as a whole powers through, it is essential that efforts to improve life in Africa and in life in poorly attended areas, improve as a whole.
Steamaco created a micro-grid that had the ability to automate the regulation of electricity. Due to it being difficult to provide solar energy after the sun has gone down, the system would send a message to customers telling them that their energy would be cut off during times when their supply would have been low, in order for hospitals to keep running. It is incredibly important that energy is provided to hospitals, as they are the backbone of the elderly community and the legs of the infancy, lack of a hospital can make life very difficult and the community very sick in the event of an outbreak. These small steps lead to a bigger picture and accelerate the goal of helping electricity reach many people, and allow for more facilities to be built as an extension onto that.
The Africa Prize is given to an individual or group that attempts to solve a problem faced by many, whether it be medical or energy. A shortlist for the prize was the invention of the pneumonia jacket. A jacket that detected pneumonia. Statistically in Uganda, pneumonia kills 27,000 Ugandan children under the age of five, and sadly many of these cases are misdiagnosis of pneumonia as malaria. The engineer of the jacket; Brian Turgabagye designed this biomedical jacket too quickly and efficiently measure the temperature, and breathing rate of a sick child. The jacket is particularly innovative and lifesaving, as it reduces human error of misdiagnosis and it can diagnose pneumonia three to four times faster than a doctor. The jacket works through a stethoscope inside of it. Which is then linked to a mobile phone app that records the audio of the patient’s chest. By detecting lung crackles, a diagnoses can be reached. The ingenuity of this, is the use of a mobile phone app, showing how something so widely available on an international scale, can be used to help save a life.
The importance of these movements to provide Africa with a brighter future and the rest of the world, cannot be stressed enough. International recognition should be paid attention to the African Prize, in hopes that investors such as Mark Zuckerberg who have made it their goal to eradicate disease, to invest in these lifesaving inventions, which will lead to a cleaner future for the world.