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How 3D Printing is Streamlining Forensic Research

When it’s time to present forensic evidence to a judge and jury, prosecutors have traditionally relied on photographs and other visual methods to display evidence. Today, forensic anthropologists are embracing a much more detailed visual aid—with a little help from 3D Printing.   3D Printing for Forensic Evidence   In the case of homicide, there’s no better way to clearly present evidence to a jury than by showing them the actual bones in question, but that’s not considered best practice for

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3D Printed Brain Tissue Shows Promise in Fighting Brain Disorders

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Sciences (ACES) at the University of Wollongong in Australia have developed a structure of neural cells using 3D printing that acts much like human brain tissue.   With around 86 billion nerve cells, the human brain is incredibly complex and multi-faceted. This is the main reason the brain is hardly understood compared to other organs in the body. But recent developments in 3D printing brain tissue could help scientists learn so

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On the Road to Fully Functional Bone Replacements

Whether 3D printed or not, bone replacements have always posed several problems for patients. For one, if the patient is a child, they will quickly grow out of whatever artificial implant they may receive. And even if the patient is an adult, they still need a bone replacement that will adapt to changes in their bodies as they age, just like a real piece of the human body. Luckily for everyone, researchers at several organizations are investigating new ways to create the perfect bone replacement

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3D Printed Anatomy Series Offers Alternative to Cadavers for Medical Training

A new 3D Printed Anatomy Series developed by scientists at Monash University may be the most realistic alternative to practicing on cadavers for medical students yet. An Effective and Streamlined Training Tool The kit contains anatomical body parts specifically designed for medical education, with the potential to revolutionize training in places where cadaver-use is not possible. It includes all major parts of the body, including the limbs, torso, head and neck, but no actual human tissue. T

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Groundbreaking Complete Skull Reconstruction Saves 3-year-old’s Life

Han Han was born with a rare disorder called congenital hydrocephalus, which caused her head to grow four times larger than was normal. At three years old, she wasn’t expected to live much longer unless something was done about the condition. Doctors in China, her home country, came to the rescue by developing a titanium mesh skull with the help of a 3D printer. Surgeons at the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province were successfully able to remove most of Han Han’s skull and replace it with

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University of Nottingham Research Lab Seeks Practical Applications for 3D Printing

The Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at the University of Nottingham has just unveiled a new research lab, thanks to a £2.7 Million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Promising Research Goals Equipped with the latest and greatest 3D printing equipment, the lab’s researchers hope to test new ideas and develop more practical applications for 3D printing. Their first order of business, in partnership with the School of Pharmacy,

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What Can 3D Printed Human Livers Do For Medicine?

The 3D bioprinting company Organovo started mass producing functioning miniature models of the human liver more than a year ago. (Did you miss that news?) Pharmaceutical companies are all over the product and demand is high. Each liver Organovo prints is about the size of the tip of a ball point pin. While they wouldn’t be much use for transplants, the livers are a great facsimile of the real deal, even taking on the roughly hexagonal shape that the cells in our livers also create. But what c

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3D Printed Solutions for Nepal’s Disaster Relief and Medical Needs

In April of this year, Nepal suffered its worst natural disaster in more than 80 years. Two major earthquakes rocked the nation, leaving a death toll of more than 8,000 people and 15,000 injured. Nine out of every 10 schools were destroyed and countless homes and businesses were lost. Now, as the country attempts to restore what it can of people’s lives and livelihoods, the 3D printing community is taking unique and inspiring steps to help those who were injured by the devastation. Arms for Amp

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3D Printed Prosthetic Jaw Helps Australian Man Eat Again

In an Australia first, surgeons in Melbourne have successfully replaced a man’s lower jaw with a custom designed, 3D-printed prosthetic. Thirty-two-year-old Richard Stratton was the self-named ‘patient X’ for an experimental joint design. Stratton had grown with an underdeveloped lower jaw, but it never caused any problems until the last few years. Pain while chewing, headaches and difficulty opening his mouth caused him to seek out a maxillofical surgeon to address the problem. At one point, h

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L’Oreal Plans to 3D Print Human Skin: An End to Animal Testing?

It would seem that an end to animal testing by cosmetic companies is in our sights, as French cosmetics giant L’Oreal announces plans to 3D Print human skin. What comes as news to many is that the company has actually been in the business of growing human skin since the early ’80s, and a new partnership with Organovo is only the latest step to fast-track the production of skin samples for cosmetic testing. Growing Skin L’Oreal runs a lab out of Lyon, France where they currently grow human sk

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3D Printed Eggs Help Scientists to Study the Evolutionary Behavior of Birds

People with even a mild interest in 3D printing are aware of the benefits of technology for medical research and advancement. Though most people are less aware of the ever-increasing uses of 3D modeling and printing for scientific research as a whole. Sure, science stories don’t give you the same warm fuzzy feelings you get when you hear about how 3D printing has helped saved a baby’s life or gave a double amputee some new legs, but it is still exciting to learn how much the technology has contr

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Bioplotting May Offer New Treatment Option for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes has long been considered a life-changing illness, with treatments geared towards detection and management. While a cure for the illness is still considered to be a long way off, the 3D printing method of bioplotting may offer patients a new treatment option that could ease diabetes management and improve the quality of life for many. Researchers have 3D printed a structure that helps protect insulin-generating cells that are implanted into the pancreas. Here’s why that's importan

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New 3D Printed Microscope Could Help Fight Disease in Central Africa

Bioengineers with UC Berkley just published an article with Science Translation Medicine about a breakthrough technology that can easily detect certain diseases using a 3D printed microscope and a smartphone. The development could mean the difference between life and death for people in hard to reach areas of the world where hospitals and blood analysis equipment are few and far between. The CellScope Loa Using an FDM 3D printer, lead author Daniel Fletcher and his colleagues printed a relati

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3D Printed Implants Give Three Babies New Chance at Life

Thanks to 3D printed, growth-flexible implants, three baby boys now have the chance to overcome a growth defect that would have likely kept them from living past infant-hood. A Grim Illness The boys are suffering from pediatric tracheobronchomalacia (TBM), a condition that causes a weak airway at high risk of collapse, resulting in halted breathing and heart failure. Conventionally, the only treatment available came with high risk complications. The babies would need a tracheostomy tube with a

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Researchers Promise Biomedical Uses for New 4D Printing Technology

Since 3D Printing became a widely-used technology in the past decade, its impact on the Biomedical field has been astronomical. As documented on this blog and elsewhere, 3D printing technology has enabled cheaper and more efficient prosthetics, given doctors opportunities to practice complicated surgeries, helped researchers take the first steps towards printing organs, repair damaged nerves, create skin grafts, among many other life-saving advancements. While we can barely keep up with all the

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Bioprinted Beating Heart Cells are the Latest Step in Complex Tissue Engineering

The prospect of 3D printed human organs has been an exciting topic in the biomedical community for some time now. Although researchers haven’t yet managed to print and implant anything yet, they are making significant strides in tissue engineering that could one day lead to the printing of fully-functional organs for use by people. A prime example of this is the pioneering work of Dr. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Popular Mechanics recently announced that

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NIH’s Public Exchange Encourages Sharing of Biomedical 3D Printing Knowledge

For doctors and scientists interested in sharing their 3D modeled research or building on the work of others, the National Institutes of Health’s 3D Print Exchange is the place to go. Since its launch in June of last year, the Exchange has help encourage collaboration in scientific discoveries and promoted STEM Education with the simple tool of information availability. Information at Everyone’s Fingertips The government-sponsored site contains models useful for scientists and doctors alike,

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3D Printed Guides May Help Improve the Repair of Damaged Nerves

Researchers at Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering recently published a paper that points to a new way to use 3D printing technology to help repair damaged nerves. The breakthrough research is excellent news for people who suffer from nerve damage because of the complications and limitations of current methods. Difficulties of Traditional Methods Repairing nerve damage often requires surgical autographs to build a bridge between damaged nerves. Autographs are often difficult to come by, while

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MHOX Expects to Develop 3D Printed Eye by 2027 to Cure Blindness, and More

MHOX, a generative design studio focused on exploring new options in human body extensions and systems, has recently announced its plans to develop a fully functional 3D printed eye that could replace the faulty organ for blind people as soon as 2027. Originally a confidential project, MHOX chose to disclose some details about their progress and plans after Will.i.am made controversial comments warning people about the potential for scientists to eventually 3D print entire humans. According to

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Animals Get Medical Benefits from 3D Printing Too

Most of the articles you find about 3D medical printing features the benefits of the technology for people who can’t afford expensive prosthetics, especially for children. But 3D printing technology turns out to be just as much of a lucky break for our four-legged friends. Here are a few of the high publicity examples of animals benefitting from 3D printing, but there are many, many more. Derby the Dog A viral example is Derby, a husky born without fully formed front legs. His foster family go

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Conjoined Twins Separation Surgery Made Possible with 3D Modeling

For the first time ever, 3D modeling has aided doctors in the successful separation of conjoined twins. Sisters Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith were born last April to John and Elysse Mata. The girls, now ten months old, shared a chest wall, lungs, heart linings, diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon, and pelvis, all of which needed to be carefully separated by doctors. Even before the surgery the babies were already a miracle—of the roughly 200,000 conjoined twins born every year, between 40 and

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3D Printing Revolutionizes Research in Paleontology

According to Kenneth Lacovara, a professor at the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University, the technology used in paleontology has been more or less the same for the last 150 years. “We use shovels and pickaxes and burlap and plaster. It hasn't changed -- until right now.” With the help of 3D modeling, everything from fossil extraction to hypothesis testing has begun to change for paleontologists. Scale Models and Future Robots Dr. Lacovara is currently collaborating with Dr. James

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New Ways to Help Children in Need of Prosthetic Hands Find 3D Printers

Through the internet, news, and word of mouth, people are finding ways to help children gain access to 3D printed hands. A prime example is E-Nable, an online community founded by Jon Schull that aims to help children in need of prosthetic hands connect with a people who own 3D printers. The site is made up of volunteers; mainly designers, prosthetists, and 3D printing enthusiasts with access to a printer, who work together to design and produce prosthetics for children who are missing a hand or

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3D Printing Takes Biological Sciences Back to Basics

The 3D printing revolution in the biological and medical sciences are developing synthetics and treatments faster than the news media can keep up. Some of the advancements, like experimental 3D printed brain cells, sound like something out of a Sci-Fi novel. Although the benefits of 3D printing to advancements in human health are numerous, the technology is also helping biologists better understand the topics covered in Biology 101—namely, the basic structures of biological molecules. Some of t

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3D Printing Makes Cosmetic Solutions for Children More Accessible

In the past, children born with a congenital deformity or who suffered a deformity after cancer or another illness had few options to fix these issues. Many prostheses are prohibitively expensive, as they are often considered to be ‘cosmetic’ by insurance companies and are therefore not covered. This puts parents in a difficult place, especially when the child will shortly grow out of expensive prostheses. In some cases, the necessary surgeries to fix the cosmetic issue were too risky. Thanks to

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