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Tag: automated external difibrillator

Closer to Reality: Gene Editing Technology

In August of 2017, scientists in the United States were successful in genetically modifying human embryos, becoming the first to use CRISPR-cas9 to fix a disease causing DNA replication error in early stage human embryos. This latest test was the largest scale to take place and proved that scientists were able to correct a mutation that caused a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

CRISPR-cas9 is a genome editing tool that is faster and more economical than othe r DNA editing techniques. CRISPR-cas9 consists of two molecules, an enzyme called cas9 cuts strands of DNA so pieces of DNA can be inserted in specific areas. RNA called gRNA or guide RNA guide the cas9 enzyme to the locations where impacted regions will be edited.

(Source: Wikipedia Commons)


Further tests following the first large-scale embryo trial will attempt to solidify CRISPR’s track record and bring it closer to clinical trials. During the clinical trials, scientists would use humans- implanting the modified embryos in volunteers and tracking births and progress of the children.

Gene editing has not emerged without controversy. While many argue that this technology can be used to engineer the human race to create genetically enhanced future generations, it cannot be overlooked that CRISPR technology is fundamentally for helping to repair genetic defects before birth. While genetic discrimination and homogeneity are possible risks, the rewards from the eradication of many genetic disorders are too important to dismiss gene editing technology from existing.


Defibrillators Malfunctioning?

Photo by: Stevenfruitsmaak

In almost every single public place you visit, you are bound to see an “AED found here” sign. An AED is an Automatic External Defibrillator. Not many people notice the defibrillators until they are needed in an emergency.

However, in a recent article, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement saying that they will “toughen regulation of the industry that produces heart defibrillators.” Defibrillators are used to “jolt a failing heart back into its regular rhythm.” The FDA mentioned that there have been tens of thousands of malfunctions and hundreds of deaths over the past few years.

The article mentions that a nurse wanted to use an AED on a patient but failed to do so when the screen of the AED read “memory full.” Another case involved a software malfunction on the AED. When the AED was trying to be used, the screen read “equipment disabled.”

Since 2005, there have been 45,000 reports of the devices failing. Cardiac arrests, on the other hand kill as many as 400,000 people per year in the United States, we need the AEDs to work!

The FDA will now monitor the production of the devices. This is a pretty big job considering that there are about 2.4 million devices in public places around the United States.




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