3-D Printing Changes the Face of Medicine

By Jason Deng, edited by Kate Jeong

The average 3-D printer prints out plastic models and figurines, but doctors have used this “miracle machine” to create fully-functional organs dubbed “plastic cadavers” and new surgical tools, some that are even the size of your thumb. 

Printing Organs

When we first started out with 3-D printing in the field of medicine, we created artificial teeth and prosthetic limbs. Now with the advancements we have made now, these innovations are just “your old man’s dentures and a stump”. For instance, present-day prosthetic limbs are electric and bear a closer resemblance to an actual leg than a stump. 

It’s not just prosthetic limbs and artificial teeth that we are creating. Just a few months ago in May, scientists successfully printed out an organ that mimics the lungs. This is a huge milestone as “one of the biggest roadblocks to generating organ tissue was the inability to recreate the complex vascular networks that supply nutrients to densely populated tissue” (Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice’s Brown School of Engineering). This type of innovation can lead to the printing of hearts, lungs, and other organs that rely on vascular networks to function. 

New Surgical Tools

The great benefit of 3-D printing is its unlimited capabilities and versatility. Its ability to allow us to manipulate the plastic or material to any extent is extremely useful. For instance, with the “miracle machine” doctors can create special surgical tools with certain qualities and shapes that are designed to handle specific jobs. With this ability to create practically anything that we may need and propagate it while in the medical field in a small amount of time, we will be able to reduce the number of organ transplants and money that is needed in medicine. 

All in all 3-D printers are the vanguard of medical innovation and can greatly reduce the mortality rate of surgical operations. They can print out organs, bringing down the number of transplants needed in the U.S, and can create much needed surgical tools that are cheaper than the conventional ones we have now. With these printers, we can change the face of medicine from 2-D to 3-D!

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a27355578/3d-print-lungs

The Eagle has Landed

By Sebastian Foster, edited by Kenna Lee

July 16th, 1969, history was made. It all started on launchpad 39A, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the Eastern coast of Florida. At 8:32 a.m., a rocket with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasted off and started its journey of 195 hours  (about eight days). The primary goal of Apollo 11, set by John F. Kennedy himself, was to land a crewed lunar landing on the Moon and get it back to Earth. On this day, 50 years ago, an estimated 650 million people watched until the Apollo 11 was only a small speck in the sky.

 During the first leg of the flight, the aircraft flew into Earth’ orbit, where it stayed for two and a half hours until it accelerated enough to fly out of Earth’s gravitational field. 102 hours later, the lunar module landed on the moon. Only seven hours after landing on the surface of the moon, Neil Armstrong became the first human set foot into the fine, powdery dust. It was then and there he uttered the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”Aldrin and Armstrong would spend the next 21 hours on the moon. 

Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 13 miles away from the recovery ship USS Hornet, and logged a flight that took 195 hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds. 36 minutes longer than planned.

July 16th was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and with that, NASA made some big announcements. NASA disclosed that they would be dropping a rover on Mars’ surface on February 18, 2020. This rover will collect samples and send them into Mars’s orbit where a rocket will retrieve them and send them back to earth. NASA has also announced that by 2024, they will partner with companies to land astronauts on the lunar south pole for long-term exploration.

On July 16th, 1969, history was made, and we all have the potential to do the same just as the historic astronauts did. We can all change and impact the world starting now. Whether it’s saving lives as a surgeon, educating the new generation as an instructor, or as an astronaut racing to the moon, we can all make a difference in the world.

Ecosia: Simple Contributions

By Kate Jeong

If you walk around the streets of downtown Houston, you’ll see signs and posters screaming at you to “SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!” It’s all meant to stir a sense of urgency inside us to do something. In most, it makes a feeble “Oh, yeah, right. We should.” kind of thought- but we don’t actually do anything about it. People still litter, don’t recycle, and still use more paper than necessary. In short, people- we- are still hurting the environment.

However, there is a simple solution that shows great potential. It is called Ecosia, a free search engine developed in Berlin, Germany, that plants a tree for every 45 searches you do. Our generation was born with the world’s information with a single search- now it’s time to search for a greater purpose. 

First and foremost, they are not scamming people. The company uploads a receipt and financial report of how they use their profits to pay for planting trees regularly. They also have a blog (blog.ecosia.org), where they update their tree projects. 

Ecosia, like everything, has some negative reviews. Some believe that they are hijackers, selling information to third party companies for profit; but you should also keep in mind those comments have also been directed towards other major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Critics also dislike the facts Ecosia places ads next to search results, but that is how they gain revenue to pay for the trees they plant. 

So, are they a legit company? In my personal view with knowledge based on thorough research, I believe that, yes, you can trust them.

Why should you participate? Our earth is your earth- it belongs to you, too. Global warming is real and is progressing fast. Experts have announced that about 1.5 trillion trees need to be planted to alter the tremendous amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and even then there’s limited time until it’s unchangeable. Ecosia, now ten years old, has planted over 67 million trees and counting. It’s quite shy from achieving a trillion, but anything helps. Besides, being online is something many of us do already on a regular basis.

Ecosia is also user-friendly, and are doing something to do something that matters. They have planted trees all over the world in fourteen countries, such as Brazil, Peru, Madagascar, and much more. They have a tracker below the search box where they keep a tally of how many trees they’ve planted so far with their eight million and counting users. I myself use the site, and I am proud to say I’ve planted 47 trees! Anyone can truly make a difference – and it’s this simple. If you have Chrome on your laptop or PC, then it’s a simple click to add the extension. On mobile, they have a free app that does the exact same thing. Additionally, if you find the right thing, clicking on the first website that shows up on your search also gives some revenue to the non-profit. 

It’s a small sacrifice you could make to make an impact on your world. While you’re searching up questions on math problems or looking up how to bake a chocolate chip cookie, you could be planting trees. There is no Plan(et) B- Earth is our only one, and you can help save it.

The Dangers of Vaping

By Brody Droste and Albert Ferrel, edited by Kate Jeong

On September 6, the state of California mourned its second death related to vaping e-cigarettes. This is the seventh death in a nationwide epidemic that has affected hundreds of people and killed twelve.

When using a vaping device, chemicals like nicotine and sweeteners are turned to vapor and inhaled by the user. These vapors include many other harmful substances as well. These include diacetyl, carcinogenic chemicals, and heavy metals such as tin, nickel, or lead. These are similar to actual cigarettes. It’s also much more dangerous to the passer-bys because of the secondhand smoke. Although these substances themselves don’t cause the lung damage associated with vaping, the oil used to vaporize the liquids are inhaled by the user. The oil becomes trapped in the lungs, causing lung damage. Victims of this illness first experienced coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain before their condition worsened and had to be taken to the hospital. Some victims ended up with a lung condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening disease in which fluids build up in the lungs and prevents oxygen from circulating in the bloodstream. 

Due to this mysterious illness, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued multiple statements encouraging people to stop vaping. Schools have been trying to stop vaping by installing special smoke detectors and even taking down bathroom stall doors. However, most are doubtful that this will have an effect. They believe teens will find other ways to hide their vaping habits.

The government has been cracking down on e-cigarette companies as well. The FDA recently sent a letter to JUUL Labs, saying they illegally marketed their vapes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Additionally, New York has passed an emergency ban immediately making the sale of flavored e-cigarettes illegal, and many other states are considering doing the same.  President Trump announced he plans on passing a law to prevent the sale of flavored cigarettes as well.

POMS has also taken measures to prevent students from vaping. Health classes educate students on the dangers of vaping, smoking, and other nicotine products.  If students are found in possession of any nicotine products, they are suspended if not expelled.

E-cigarettes are a very dangerous item, and should not be administered especially by any middle schoolers, as they can even lead to death like the epidemics taking place now.