Technology in Treating Diseases

Nervous Disorders

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Christian Bien Portrait_edited.jpg

Ben Whitten

Learning Objectives

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What are the primary nervous disorders?
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There are two incurable, nervous system degenerative conditions that you need to be made aware of; these include Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.


Despite having no cure, there are two technologies that can be used to aid in the treatment of these disorders.


Cell replacement therapy can be used to inject cellular material into the patient and replace their dying neural tissue with healthy tissue.


Tissue engineering is the use of a combination of cells, biochemical factors and engineering materials to improve or replace biological functions in the body in an effort to improve clinical procedures for the repair of damaged tissues.


  • Cells are induced to grow on a scaffold, which provides support for the cells until they can manufacture their own independent structure

  • The scaffold is then implanted into the patient

  • New tissues can now develop in the body

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What is Parkinson's disease?
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Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a reduction in the neurotransmitter called dopamine, which results in the inevitable death of nerve cells.


Symptoms of the disease are characterised by slow physical movements and spasmodic muscle tremors.


There is no cure for the disease, however, it can be partially treated by increasing the body's dopamine levels and using cell replacement therapy to replace dying neurons with healthy neurons.


Further effects of the disease include:


  • Impaired hearing and vision

  • Slow reaction time

  • Reduction in fine motor skills

  • Short term memory loss


Actions taken to prevent the disease include:


  • Physical activity and stimulation

  • Maintaining a healthy diet

  • Reduced alcohol consumption

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What is Alzheimer's disease?
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Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a loss of neurons due to abnormal accumulations of amyloid plaques (aggregates of misfolded proteins that form in the spaces between nerve cells) which interferes with synaptic transmission.


Symptoms of the disease include paranoia, disorientation, moodiness and memory loss.


Despite having no cure (similarly to Parkinson's), treatments that can aid in slowing the progression of the disease include cholinesterase inhibitors and cell replacement therapy of dying neurons with healthy neurons.


Further effects of the disease include:


  • Impaired hearing and vision

  • Slow reaction time

  • Reduction in fine motor skills

  • Short term memory loss


Actions taken to prevent the disease include:


  • Physical activity and stimulation

  • Maintaining a healthy diet

  • Reduced alcohol consumption

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