Circus Candy Inspires a Medical Miracle

Talk about sweet science; medical researchers are building artificial body parts using (believe it or not) cotton candy. If you’ve ever eaten it, you know how tangled (and sticky! ) cotton candy can be. Those traits come via some surprising science. Cotton candy is made from almost pure sugar. Inside a cotton candy machine, that sugar is first melted into a liquid, and then fed into a strainer covered with very tiny holes. As the strainer spins, the liquid sugar sprays out as fine, hot jets. These solidify almost instantly, on hitting the cooler air. The sugar is still just sugar, but its physical form has been transformed.

Instead of being crystals (orderly arrangements of molecules), the spinning and cooling turns the sugar into what scientists call an amorphous solid — jumbles of oddly packed molecules. That’s why cotton candy sticks to itself (and your hands and face! ). Each strand is really a nanofiber, just three thousandths of an inch across. It turns out that this intricate tangle is an almost exact copy of the way many kinds of cells in the human body arrange themselves. For example, under a microscope, cotton candy looks amazingly like networks of capillaries (fine blood vessels).

This prompted researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center to try using real cotton candy as a “form” for building artificial blood vessels. To test this, they poured polymer (plastic resin) over the candy strands. Then they melted the trapped candy with hot water (much the way cotton candy melts in your mouth! ). What was left was a mold filled with tiny, intermeshing channels, just like blood vessels. Now scientists are developing biodegradable plastic, which can be formed into artificial skin for burn victims.

When perfected, the cotton-candy process could be used to enhance the artificial skin with delicate blood vessels that could be attached to a patient’s natural ones. Scientists at Purdue University are also using this cotton-candy approach to construct artificial nerve networks. Even P. T. Barnum couldn’t top that. Sweetheart Will tomorrow’s bionic organs run on the energy from the sugar in your blood? As it happens, your natural organs (heart, lungs, brain) already work on sugar power. Molecules of glucose (derived from the food you eat) are transported by your blood to your organs.

This provides the cells there with the energy they need. Biologists call this process cell respiration. It’s what keeps cells alive. By contrast, artificial hearts (and other replacement organs) usually run on electricity, which is provided by batteries. To accomplish this, experts have developed batteries with remarkable lifespans and reliability. Still, what if tomorrow’s artificial heart could run on the sugar in a patient’s own blood instead? Attempting to make this happen, researchers are experimenting with fuel cells — devices that convert chemical energy directly into an electrical charge.

Unlike batteries (which must be replaced or recharged), fuel cells keep working simply by adding more fuel. NASA already uses fuel cells to power some of its deep space probes. However, these fuel cells are powered by exotic fuels such as hydrogen. By contrast, “bio” fuel cells would run on glucose (blood sugar). Like cell respiration, these cells combine the sugar with oxygen, to release energy. However, the chemical process they use is very different. It depends on complex enzymes, which act as the electrodes (plus and minus terminals) of the fuel cell.

Since the cell must be implanted in the body, its parts are made from nonreacting materials, including platinum. In laboratory tests by a team at Joseph Fourier University in France, the new sugar cells have generated about half the current needed to operate a pacemaker, and ran reliably for several months. Once perfected, they could help ease the problems associated with batteries, which may contain toxic chemicals, and often must be replaced surgically. This is “sweet” news for patients. Lifesaving Sugar That Glows in the Dark “You can catch more flies with honey,” an old adage goes.

But can you use sugar to catch something much smaller — like a bacterium? That would solve a pressing medical need. Some types of bacterial infections can prove challenging for doctors to treat. One problem is distinguishing these infections from other types of illness. But now, researchers have a way to spot that difference. They’re using a special kind of sugar — one that glows in the dark. Just like humans (and most other life forms), bacteria use sugar to get the energy they need. However, their sweet tooth operates differently from ours.

Bacteria get their sugar from a carbohydrate called maltohexaose. But humans (and most animals) can’t use this. So biomedical engineers at Georgia Tech whipped up a special batch of maltohexaose, adding a molecule called a fluorescent tag. When struck by the correct wavelength of light, these molecules glow. (They absorb and then re-emit the light. ) Released into the bloodstream, human cells ignore this shiny sugar. But when bacteria consume it, it makes them glow, too. In laboratory tests on animals, the new treatment caused superficial bacterial infections to shine right through the skin.

The process could help doctors confirm that an inflammation is bacterial, and then identify its location and size. That could help doctors best prescribe the right antibiotics to fight the infection, plus track the progress of recovery. Researchers are working now to improve the system, so infections deeper in the body can be detected, too. The future system will probably use PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning, a system often used to detect cancer. PET scans also depend on recognizing a special form of sugar called fluorodeoxyglucose. How to Find a Sweet E. T.

Some people can’t live without sugary snacks. But one kind of sugar really is a building block of life. DNA (the molecule that carries our genetic code) contains a sugar called deoxyribose (that’s what the “D” in DNA stands for). While this sugar is completely different from the ones we eat, it may be sweet news for alien hunters. That’s because astronomers at University College, London, think they know how to use this sugar to find potential life in the cosmos. They’re using a telescope that can “taste” the presence of DNA sugars, even light-years away. (Talk about a really long tongue!).

The telescope is IRAM, a 30-meter-wide radio telescope located in Spain’s Sierra Nevada. Pointed towards a region of the Milky Way galaxy 26,000 light-years from Earth, IRAM detected the presence of a molecule called glycolaldehyde, which is a monosaccharide (the simplest form of sugar). To identify the molecules as sugar, the telescope detected their spectral lines — the unique way in which different materials affect the light that strikes them. What’s most amazing is that glycolaldehyde can react with other substances to form ribose, a simpler version of the sugar found in DNA.

What does all this have to do with detecting life? Scientists believe this area of space could also be home to Earthlike planets. So if these molecules could come together there (the way they first did on Earth billions of years ago), they might produce the building blocks of life on an alien planet! Using the telescope/spectral lines method, astronomers have already found other organic (life-related) molecules in space, including amino acids (which living things use to make proteins). Talk about getting a taste for outer space! These four sweet discoveries are proof that ordinary sugar isn’t ordinary at all.

Will you ever look at a gumdrop quite the same way again? What do cotton candy and artificial body parts have in common? Read this article to find out. Under a microscope, cotton candy looks amazingly like this network of capillaries. A diagram showing the chemical design of maltodextrin-based imaging probes that have been used to detect bacterial Infections in animals Astronomers are searching the Milky Way for glycolaldehyde, one of the building blocks of life. Summary Four studies have been carried out to find other vital uses of sugar in saving lives or finding life forms in the universe.

The first study used real cotton candy and its process of production as a form for building artificial blood vessels. Researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center conducted this. This has been the basis for developing biodegradable plastic as artificial skin for burn victims. Purdue University scientists have used the cotton candy approach to make artificial nerve networks. Another study at Joseph Fourier University in France sought to use sugar to run a pacemaker in the hope of doing away with batteries.

A third study explored the use of sugar in detecting bacteria so doctors can give the proper antibiotics to fight infection. The fourth study, done by astronomers at University College in London, used sugar to find potential life in the cosmos. This was done from a telescope that is capable of detecting the presence of DNA sugar. Reactions These studies are vital because these either try to treat ailments or determine life forms in the cosmos. These should be pursued and perfected to meet those objectives to be able to make medical advances and explore the possibility of living in planets outside of Earth.

Lipoproteins are characterized because of their density; they are categorized as (HDL) the high density lipoprotein, (LDL) low density lipoprotein and the very low density lipoprotein. The building block of the outer layer of cell called cholesterol is being transported …

An important and growing part of the textile industry is the medical and related healthcare and hygiene sector. ? The extent of the growth is due to constant improvements and innovations in both textile technology and medical procedures [1]. Medical …

? An important and growing part of the textile industry is the medical and related healthcare and hygiene sector. ? The extent of the growth is due to constant improvements and innovations in both textile technology and medical procedures [1]. …

? An important and growing part of the textile industry is the medical and related healthcare and hygiene sector. ? The extent of the growth is due to constant improvements and innovations in both textile technology and medical procedures [1]. …

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