Monday, April 10, 2017

Spinach Hearts

Spinach Hearts

Scientists at WPI have recently discovered a way to turn an ordinary spinach leaf into a beating heart. The idea to use a spinach leaf came from a common problem that tissue engineers face when synthesizing tissue. They explained that one of the main limiting factors in creating tissues has to do with a lack of a vascular network. Similar to animals, leaves have their own vascular networks that consist of veins. The researchers have replicated the way blood moves through the heart using the delicate network of a spinach leaf. 

The process of turning a spinach leaf into a functional heart involves the removal of plant cells from the leaf. This leaves behind a frame of cellulose, which is a material used often in tissue engineering for artificial cartilage and wound healing. The cellulose was soaked in human cells which grew on the frame. After the cellulose has been turned into a mini heart, the researchers injected fluid and microbeads through its veins to show that blood cells can flow through the veins. The goal of this research is to find ways to replace damaged tissues in humans. The scientists hope to experiment with other plant materials such as wood to repair bones. Overall this research is very promising for the future of tissue replacement procedures. 




Source:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/human-heart-spinach-leaf-medicine-science/


Posted by Sierra Tyrol (C)

7 comments:

  1. Who would've known that a spinach leaf could help researchers understand and possibly replicate ways to fix damaged tissues in humans. Watching the video, I was actually intrigued when watching the actual blood flow through the veins in the plant. Ordinarily, you wouldn't think a plant could possibly obtain a "heart beat" and I wonder how scientists thought of this wild idea in the vascular system of the spinach leave. Hopefully, as you mentioned, researchers could use other plants to repair other parts of the human body!

    Posted by Angela Driscoll (group A)

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    1. When you first see a leaf you wouldn't think it has any similarities with a heart. But these researchers were very innovative in their techniques and noticed that spinach veins could carry blood cells once the plant cells are removed from the cellulose. I can't wait to see what other body parts could be made from plant scaffolds.

      Posted by Sierra Tyrol

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  2. I am so amazed that a spinach leave actually has this ability. What is even more amazing is that scientists actually figured out that this could be possible. Science never ceases to amaze me! You would really never think that a spinach leave could be the future of medicine. I cannot wait to see what else plants can be used for in medicine.

    Posted by Jenna Lansbury (Group B)

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  3. When I read this I absolutely did not believe it. I did more research and realized this is true! This is one of the craziest things I've ever heard in the scientific community. This also could mean we could (eventually) create a heart from merely nothing! Wow, I can't wait to see what this discovers.

    Posted by Caitlin Lohr

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    1. It was a surprise me to hear this too! I initially saw the video on facebook so I had to do more research and it turns out the spinach leaf can be used as a scaffold for heart cells to grow on, basically producing a mini heart. It is really amazing.

      Posted by Sierra Tyrol

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  4. Far too often I see videos on Facebook about “amazing medical discoveries” that seem way too good be be true. And usually, most of them are. They look convincing at first glance but I never see anything come of them. This, however is real and hopefully not too good to be true. If something as simple as a spinach leaf can save a person’s life, imagine all the doors this could open up in the medical world. You even mention wood to repair bones which in and of itself is incredible! I hope I start seeing more videos like this on Facebook and no so much impossible, too good to be true videos.

    Posted by Taylor Irwin (B)

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