Materials have specific properties which make them useful for certain applications. Medicine is an area in which various material characteristics find a role in the human body. Spider silk fibre has revolutionary properties which make it an excellent new biomaterial. This review article will explore the chemistry, physics and biology of this material. Spider silk fibre has more recently also been reverse engineered into the physical state of an aqueous and ultra-thin film state. This opens up additional possibilities. It also allows implantation of silk material based devices within the human body in a manner that seamlessly conforms to biotic-abiotic interface. The versatile uses of spider silk in medicine include micro sutures (a type of joint found in the skull) with more strength, sturdy bio-scaffolds for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering for artificial skin and nerve grafts, tendon and ligament repair with the required strength and elasticity, weight-bearing artificial knee menisci in Orthopaedic surgery, liquid silk for biological wound dressings, silk micro particles for drug delivery and finally silk optics, bio-photonics, biosensors and bio electronics. The practical challenges and scope of research will revolve around the mass production and genetic engineering of spider silk, and reinventing a material that has existed for millennia.
Through this discussion I wanted to explore the impacts of the principle of free health care at the point of delivery. This is a fundamental principle of our National Health Service and as such it is essential to consider the implications of this for our health system and within the wider health service.
Essential oils have been known to inhibit bacterial growth so more and more companies are using them in their products as an alternative to ‘harsh chemicals’. We wanted to understand if, with increased usage, bacteria could become resistant to essential oils in a similar way to bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. This was a useful way to understand the threat of antibiotic resistance. Would bacteria evolve resistance, or adapt? These two possibilities may seem identical however if a bacterial cell were to evolve resistance it will forever have that resistance but if a bacterial cell adapts to the exposure of the essential oils, if you were to remove the bacterium from that environment the resistance would be reduced until it was non-existent. So what we are testing is if they adapt or evolve. We are doing this by putting a strain of E. coli in an environment where it can still grow but at a reduced rate because of the essential oils in its environment which may lead to the E. coli evolving or adapting.
From time to time there have been debates in the press and in politics about the efficient use of money, and the allocation of funding, within the NHS in the UK. Smoking is often seen as a self-inflicted problem and thus some argue that smoking-related illness might not deserve to be treated free of charge by the NHS. In this article, I outline the problems associated with smoking and some of its scientific basis; I also discuss some of the arguments made for and against charging smokers for certain treatments. I describe some of the reasons why people start smoking and I conclude by making the case for improved smoking prevention and cessation resources as a preferable option to charging for treatment.
This short article discusses the relatively new bioactive glasses which have been extensively experimented with in the field of regenerative medicine and have shown promising results. We will look at how this is a more viable alternative to already existing options in bone tissue regeneration, and also briefly at the mechanisms of how these materials actually work in the human body.
I discuss the available treatments for schizophrenia. I comment upon the socio-economic issues arising from living with schizophrenia and the aforementioned treatments. I examine a case study in management of schizophrenia in the NHS. Furthermore, I evaluate two alternative methods to control schizophrenia – one holistic and the other supplementary to a more rigorous regimen. I discuss the impact of schizophrenia on other individuals; especially close family members, as well as wider society. Moreover, the article scrutinizes different antipsychotic drugs and their chemical composition. Finally, I comment upon the validity of two different sources I have used in the creation of this article.