It’s no secret that humans age. Muscle deteriorates, bones weaken. Sometimes to such a severe state that it renders people ineffective and in need of assistance. Medical practitioners and developers in the country of Latvia, however, have been working on creating ‘spare parts’ that can alleviate the worst of these issues.
Less broken hearts
Heart valves are constantly in use, which means that they can end up damaged. The technology to replace them has been a while now, but that needs the patient to undergo open-heart surgery, which stops the person’s heart and requires artificial blood circulation. Now, Latvia’s medical practitioners in the Latvian Cardiology Center have found a way to fix issues with the heart via a small incision in the groin, allowing for lifesaving surgery with less time and anesthesia needed.
The new method doesn’t remove the old heart valve, it just gets a new one placed over it through the artery. Though shorter than the older method and is a step up from the older method, it does require a lot of preparation and several different specialists to handle, as well as demanding a greater recovery period. The LCC uses special darts which they use to narrow valves and improve their function, made of polymer materials so as not to set off metal detectors.
A key innovation has been the invention of dental implants, which restores that perfect smile to patients. However, getting them on is more than just drilling a hole into someone’s jaw then screwing in a fake tooth.
One important thing of note, something that the University of Latvia has been working on, are the materials used on dental implants; they need to be compatible with bone and flesh so as to ensure the best results and avoid discomfort. That’s why researchers have been looking into other materials, like titanium, to find one with the best biocompatibility.
Methods like nanostructured metal oxide coatings, nanotechnology, cell engineering, and the like, are on the table for the University research team in their quest to improve implants in different ways, whether it be promoting cell growth or improving antibacterial properties.