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.
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.
Every year hundreds of kit plates containing DNA parts are shipped to Universities and other scientific institutions across the globe as part of the iGEM competition. Teams of undergraduates must utilise these kits to create their own project, which they must present at the annual iGEM jamboree which this year, was held in Boston. It is the world’s largest undergraduate synthetic biology competition with 245 teams competing last year in 2013. This year a group of undergraduates from the University of Kent will be going to Boston to present their summer project on fragrance producing bacteria in the hope of obtaining a gold medal. But what does the iGEM competition hope to achieve? And more importantly, what is the Kent iGEM project all about and why is it significant?
The Extracellular Matrix (ECM) is the fluid, containing tissue and extracellular molecules, that surrounds cells in inter-cellular spaces. Once thought merely to serve the purpose of supporting tissues and acting as scaffolding in the human body, the ECM has recently made a promising appearance in regenerative medicine. It is important to note that there are many types of ECM, and the ECM is contained in most living organisms. This fundamental substance is secreted by specialised cells in the body called fibroblasts, and certain types of ECM are secreted by particular fibroblasts, e.g. chondroblasts secrete cartilage ECM and osteoblasts secrete bone ECM.
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.