14 blind people restored their vision after using eye implants made from pigskin – Upworthy


The science behind the miracle is fascinating.
This little piggie went to the eye doctor.
Pigskin has already proven to be extremely useful for treating wounds, due to being genetically similar human skin. But can it cure blindness? The science seems to lead toward yes.
pig skin eye implant Giphy
A new study, published in Nature Biotechnology, revealed that 14 out of 14 blind patients significantly restored their eyesight—with a few even achieving perfect 20/20 vision—after receiving bioengineered implants made of collagen, a protein found in human skin, and, you guessed it … pigskin.
Each of the patients, all in Iran and India, suffered from a progressive condition called keratoconus, where the cornea (the transparent layer that covers the pupil and iris) thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape.
Corneal damage is one of the leading causes of blindness globally, and though it is currently treatable through transplants, there is a low amount of human donor corneas available, especially to those with low to middle income.
Being a food byproduct, pigskin is not only accessible, but a much more cost-effective transplant material. That’s what makes this study and its findings so potentially groundbreaking.

How scientists created the implants is cool too. Pig collagen was first liquified. This in itself is no easy task, as the material is “prone to degradation.” But after using the same techniques that keep collagen-based skin grafts stable, researchers created a transparent, implantable hydrogel that can mimic a human cornea. On first glance, it could be mistaken for a contact lens.

pig skin eye plant

An image of the hydrogel before insertion.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-022-01408-w/figures/1

After surgeons make a small incision into the patient’s cornea, the hydrogel is inserted, which thickens the cornea and allows doctors to improve its curvature. The results, though varied, were dramatically positive. Meaning, at worst, some still had to use corrective lenses. And at best, some gained perfect vision.

Overall, this procedure could be cheaper, quicker and less invasive than traditional cornea implants. And perhaps safer, considering there were no adverse reactions experienced after two years following treatment. Neil Lagali, a professor of experimental ophthalmology at Linköping University in Sweden who co-authored the study, told NBC News, "There’s always a risk for rejection of the human donor tissue because it contains foreign cells. Our implant does not contain any cells … so there’s a minimal risk of rejection."

pig eye implant, pig skin restores visio

Will wonders never cease?

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

There have been several technological advances allowing those with visual impairments to interact with their environment in new ways: apps that allow users to listen to, rather than view, a map of the world around them, smart glasses for both those who are blind and colorblind, even new legislation to make electric cars safer by mandating artificial engine sounds. Even Braille, arguably the oldest form of vision tech, has been given a modern spin with easy-to-use e-readers and electronic toys that teach Braille to preschoolers.

This innovation is yet another huge step for inclusion. According to CBS, Mehrdad Rafat, the researcher and entrepreneur behind the design and development of the implants, said in a press release, "We've made significant efforts to ensure that our invention will be widely available and affordable by all and not just by the wealthy. That's why this technology can be used in all parts of the world."

Science never ceases to amaze or move us forward.

How scientists created the implants is cool too. Pig collagen was first liquified. This in itself is no easy task, as the material is “prone to degradation.” But after using the same techniques that keep collagen-based skin grafts stable, researchers created a transparent, implantable hydrogel that can mimic a human cornea. On first glance, it could be mistaken for a contact lens.
An image of the hydrogel before insertion.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-022-01408-w/figures/1
After surgeons make a small incision into the patient’s cornea, the hydrogel is inserted, which thickens the cornea and allows doctors to improve its curvature. The results, though varied, were dramatically positive. Meaning, at worst, some still had to use corrective lenses. And at best, some gained perfect vision.

Overall, this procedure could be cheaper, quicker and less invasive than traditional cornea implants. And perhaps safer, considering there were no adverse reactions experienced after two years following treatment. Neil Lagali, a professor of experimental ophthalmology at Linköping University in Sweden who co-authored the study, told NBC News, "There’s always a risk for rejection of the human donor tissue because it contains foreign cells. Our implant does not contain any cells … so there’s a minimal risk of rejection."
Will wonders never cease?
There have been several technological advances allowing those with visual impairments to interact with their environment in new ways: apps that allow users to listen to, rather than view, a map of the world around them, smart glasses for both those who are blind and colorblind, even new legislation to make electric cars safer by mandating artificial engine sounds. Even Braille, arguably the oldest form of vision tech, has been given a modern spin with easy-to-use e-readers and electronic toys that teach Braille to preschoolers.
This innovation is yet another huge step for inclusion. According to CBS, Mehrdad Rafat, the researcher and entrepreneur behind the design and development of the implants, said in a press release, "We've made significant efforts to ensure that our invention will be widely available and affordable by all and not just by the wealthy. That's why this technology can be used in all parts of the world."
Science never ceases to amaze or move us forward.
This article originally appeared on 01.27.21

There are few things as frightening to a parent than losing your child in a crowded place like a shopping mall, zoo, or stadium. The moment you realize your child is missing, it's impossible not to consider the terrifying idea they may have been kidnapped.

A woman in New Zealand recently lost her son in a Kmart but was able to locate him because of a potentially life-saving parenting hack she saw on TikTok a few months ago.
The woman was shopping at the retailer when she realized her two-year-old son Nathan was missing. She immediately told a friend to alert the staff to ensure he didn't leave through the store's front exit.
"Another friend searched the area he was last seen," the mom wrote in a Facebook post.
The mother began looking for him by rummaging through clothes racks and running through the aisles.
It was the "scariest 10 minutes of my life" she later wrote.
assets.rebelmouse.io

But then she remembered a parenting hack she saw on TikTok by blogger Jess Martini. "If your child goes missing, screw the stares and start calling out their description," the mother recalled.

"I'm missing a little boy, he's wearing a yellow shirt and has brown hair. He's two years old and his name is Nathan!" she called out to the rest of the store while reminding herself not to "break down" in tears.
"You need people to understand you loud and clear," she said.
The mother's calls immediately deputized everyone who heard them to begin looking for the child. It was like multiplying the search by a factor of 10. "I turned an aisle and heard 'He's here!'" she wrote. "I turned back the way I came and there he was. A man had walked past him after hearing me calling out."
She immediately thanked the man, realizing that if she hadn't called out he may have never known the child was missing. "Nate would have walked past him and he wouldn't have blinked," she said.
In November, parenting blogger Jess Martini posted a video sharing the best way for parents to locate a missing child. It's great advice because the knee-jerk response is usually to just call out their name or silently run around looking.
"To all parents out there, if your child goes missing, do not search in silence or just call out their name,' Martini says in the video. "Shout out loud and clear. Say they're missing, give a description and repeat, repeat, repeat!"
"Everyone will be on alert, and if someone is trying to take off with your kid, it will decrease the chances of them getting away," she added.

The advice is a great reminder to make a mental note of what your child is wearing when you go out, so if they go missing, you can easily provide a description. It also proof that when a parent needs help, most people are more than willing to lend a hand.
A fascinating look at quality versus quantity.
One of these things is not like the other.
For fantasy fans, it truly is the best of times, and the worst of times. On the bright side—there’s more magic wielding, dragon riding, caped crusading content than ever before. Yay to that.
On the other hand, have you noticed that with all these shows, something feels … off?
No, that’s not just adulthood stripping you of childlike wonder. There is a subtle, yet undeniable decline in how these shows are being made, and your eyes are picking up on it. Nolan Yost, a freelance wigmaker living in New York City, explains the shift in his now viral Facebook post.
The post, which has been shared nearly 3,500 times, attributes shows being “mid,” (aka mediocre, or my favorite—meh) mostly to the new streaming-based studio system, which quite literally prioritizes quantity over quality, pumping out new content as fast as possible to snag a huge fan base.
The result? A “Shein era of mass media,” Yost says, adding that “the toll it takes on costuming and hair/makeup has made almost every new release from Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu have a B-movie visual quality.”
He even had some pictures to prove it.
Yost first addressed the Amazon Prime Series “The Rings of Power.” One of the many, many things that makes Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy so iconic is the costumes. But that legacy was the direct result of dedication to detail.
“The production spent years hand-making every single piece of armor with real metal, hand-dyeing all-natural fiber fabrics, and designing distinct embroidery and hairstyles specific to each race in Middle Earth that had continuity through the story,” Yost wrote.
He added, “the natural dyes and dedicated layers of fabrics for elves, for hobbits, wool/dyes, and for men had a much more muted/medieval look, yet ethereal because of the slight detail you don’t really notice, but the depth draws your eye to every inch of the costume regardless.” This, he says, is why those three movies stand the test of time.
Compare this to the two images from “The Rings of Power,” below. In one photo “they barely scrapped together an unnaturally gilded scale mail breastplate and just screen printed a stretched long sleeve shirt to match underneath, all over a skirt in a single layer of a warped poly skirt.”
Now you too can look like you're from Middle Earth for the low, low cost of $10.99.
Nolan Yost/Facebook
The other image shows “they just saved money on an Elven wig altogether for a 2022 pompadour, with a velvet pleated priest smock (with crushed parts not even steamed out), and a neckline that isn’t tailored to fit like we’ve seen previously with Elrond or Celeborn.”
Yost then moved onto HBO’s “House of the Dragon.” Arguably even those who have never seen a single episode of its predecessor, “Game of Thrones,” would still recognize Daenerys Targaryen for her platinum white hair—an attribute that Yost notes was quite expensive.
It cost big bucks to be a Khalessi.
He explained that for the show’s final season alone, Daenerys’ wigs cost tens of thousands, requiring human hair to be custom made into multiple wigs. Yost made a comment in his Facebook post that indicated he even supplied those hairpieces back in the day, so it's safe to say he knows what he’s talking about.
Luckily, there was only one character with that signature look in the show. For “House of the Dragon,” however, with a cast almost entirely made up of silver-haired brooding powerhouses, Yost surmises that due to budget constraints, the creators opted for synthetic wigs.
You can see below the problem this cost-cutting decision makes in terms of authenticity.
Luckily, Matt Smith is such a good actor a few stray hairs are an easily forgivable.
Nolan Yost/Facebook
“Synthetic hair reflects light throughout the whole hair shaft and it tangles extremely easily,” Yost writes. “With any shot where a character isn’t actively moving or is performing dialogue and the hair isn’t being actively smoothed down every couple of seconds between shots, each flyaway is going to show up on camera if there’s any indirect lighting and look messy. Not only that, synthetic hair is also twice as thick per strand than human hair, so regardless of that the wigs are going to look bulky in an uncanny valley sort of way.”
This affects not just sci-fi and fantasy, but other genres meant to transport viewers into other worlds, like period pieces, which Yost points out with a picture from “Bridgerton” by Shonda Rhimes.
Yeah, this does look like they're wearing curtains. And not in a fun "Sound of Music" kind of way.
Nolan Yost/Facebook
“It’s obviously not meant to be historically accurate, which is totally fine,” he writes, but without important details or embellishments or even proper undergarments to make the clothes fit well, everything looks like a slightly more expensive Halloween costume.
Yost’s insightful post really shines a light on what audiences are having to trade off for the sake of constant output. The phrase “done is better than perfect” takes on a new meaning altogether as studios race to meet a deadline with whatever is easiest to mass produce. But if viewers are so easily taken out of these stories because of noticeable corner cutting, then perhaps it’s a sign that what we really want and need are stories worth waiting for, ones that truly pull us in and leave us captivated. This is no easy ask, for studio execs or customers alike (I too am a voracious binge-watcher), but as we can see in these examples, the most valuable experiences rarely, if ever, come from rushing.

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