This Doctor Fixed Spinal Damage with… Asparagus?!

The modern world is evolving exponentially faster every day. New technologies are being created, sold, and then made obsolete sometimes within less than a year. Some of this is due to rampant consumerism (looking at you, Apple), but some of this is because the technology really is improving that quickly (looking at you, EasyBet Casino). The Oculus 2 launched last October, and already Mark Zuckerberg has mentioned in interviews that FaceBook and the Oculus team are already working on the Oculus 3, 4, and beyond.

Eh, well, that’s probably another example of out-of-control capitalistic greed, but I swear that there is new, amazing technology out there! One field of such technology is the medical industry. We’ve been living through a pandemic, and the fact that we managed to endure, survive, and defeat a virus in just over a year, with far fewer deaths than estimated, is an unprecedented victory for humanity.

But that’s not even half of it. Here are some new amazing new technologies and medical advances that will make you think that we’re living in a world of science-fiction!

Fixing Spinal Damage with Asparagus

Nope, the headline wasn’t clickbait. A lab really did manage to fix spinal damage using a vegetable and is pushing to get human trials underway.

Andrew Pelling’s labwork is all about studying how to use fruits and vegetables in a bizarre and unique way. Basically, he can strip a plant, like an apple, of all its internal DNA and cellular components. This process leaves behind just the natural plant fibers- the stuff that creates the physical structure of the plant. The round apple shape, for instance.

Andrew Pelling’s labwork is all about studying how to use fruits and vegetables in a bizarre and unique way. Basically, he can strip a plant, like an apple, of all its internal DNA and cellular components. This process leaves behind just the natural plant fibers- the stuff that creates the physical structure of the plant. The round apple shape, for instance.

Once these internal bits and bobs are removed, it’s possible to inject living tissue into the structure, which will use the plant-like scaffolding and grow in whatever shape it’s guided into. Andrew Pelling and his team managed to extract all the internal components of an apple, carved it into the shape of an ear, and regrew an ear this way.

They were also able to surgically attach the ear, and the body recognized this new ear, and blood vessels grew back to connect to it. That way, the body started pumping blood to it. This is important because one of the main dangers of surgery is rejection. If the body doesn’t recognize an organ, like a transplanted kidney, it will try to expel it. This is why not just anyone can trade body parts and blood with anyone else, and they usually have to be taken from someone with similar enough DNA, like a sibling or a parent.

So, according to Andrew Pelling, he was preparing dinner one night, and after he chopped the ends off an Asparagus, he noticed that the stalks had “micro-channel vascular bundles”. This is an extremely nerdy way to say that the asparagus is full of little tubes. It then occurred to him that this was similar to a whole division of bio-engineering effort aimed at treating spinal injuries.

Now, he rightfully acknowledges that plant cells don’t exactly belong in the human body. Ideally, a good treatment would leave only natural tissue fibers, but plant fibers don’t break down in the human body. The body doesn’t produce the right enzymes to do it. However, this is why it works so well in the first place because the body doesn’t even seem to notice it. This is super useful because regrowing cells can still take advantage of the “scaffolding” without other internal systems trying to eject said scaffolding.

To make a long story short(er), Pelling and his team surgically severed the spines of rats, which paralyzed their back legs. They then used these Asparagus channels to repair it. Ideally, the nerves would eventually grow back and, guided by the scaffolding, reconnect the two severed ends of the spine. Lo and behold, months afterward, the rats with surgical implants began to show signs of regaining use of their legs.

This is a breakthrough. Pelling and his team didn’t use pharmaceuticals, electrostimulation, stem cells, or even physical therapy. These rats started healing naturally, helped only by a (relatively) simple implant. Don’t take my word for it either. The FDA has labeled this technology as a “breakthrough medical device”, which fast tracks it through a bunch of red tapes. This means that human trials could happen as early as two years from now (which, might I add, is a very short time frame to go from Animal to Human trials).

Virtual Reality: The Next Major Medium

Civilization was fundamentally changed when writing was invented several thousand years ago. Books became more accessible with the invention of the printing press in 1440 AD. A new art form was created with the invention of film in the late 1800s. The first interactive medium came about in 1958 when the first video game, “Tennis for Two,” was put on display.

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