Monday Good News: Science Making Change

I know, there’s nothing revolutionary about saying that science is making a change in the world. We, as a species, have come up with vaccines, cures and helped make the world a better place.

But that’s on a global scale.

In this week’s Monday Good News, we are all about showing how science can change our lives. A pharmacist coming up with a cheaper EpiPen alternative hasn’t developed a cure for cancer, but he did change the lives of people who are struggling to get the most necessary medicine. A paralyzed man regaining use of his limbs after an experimental stem cell treatment has seemed like a science fiction scenario until it happened in USC Neurorestoration Center. And a kid 3D printed a mechanic hand for his teacher.

Not only are these cases precedents, but they also give us hope we really, really need. So let’s see what has happened in the past week that can make us go and say – damn, I’m lucky I get to live amongst these kind people.

 

Blacksburg pharmacists comes up with a $20 EpiPen Alternative

epipen-alternative

After Mylan, EpiPen maker, raised the price more than 600%, it became clear that not everyone who needs EpiPen will be able to pay as much as $600 dollars for it.

So a Blacksburg pharmacy owner, Jeremy Counts, found a way to bypass that entirely and offer EpiPen at a much more affordable price.

“I buy the epinephrine in bulk and I get a good price and then I take the syringes and I pre-load them with 2 doses for people, and after I pre-load them, they’re ready to go,” Counts told WSET.

He sells a pair for $20, as opposed to Mylan’s $614 and the only difference is in product packaging and shelf-life (Mylan’s can last up to a year, while Counts’ is good for about three months). Counts’ medicine is no different from what the people are used to and need, but it’s cheaper.

You can learn more about Main Street Pharmacy in Blacksburg here and Counts pointed out that, as long as their insurance covers it, people should have no problem getting it.   

 

Experimental stem cell therapy helps a paralyzed main regain use of his arms and hands

kris-boesen-usc

 

When Kristopher Boesen suffered a traumatic injury to his spine in a car accident back in March, he was told that it was probable he would stay paralyzed from the neck down.

However, 90 days after he had received treatment made from stem cells and other cells as a part of USC’s neurorestoration study, Boesen has gained significant improvement in his motor function, meaning that he can now use his cellphone, take care of himself and hug his family members.

“With this study, we are testing a procedure that may improve neurological function, which could mean the difference between being permanently paralyzed and being able to use one’s arms and hands. Restoring that level of function could significantly improve the daily lives of patients with severe spinal injuries,” Charles Liu, MD, PhD, director of the USC Neurorestoration Center told Kurzweil.

The study is still in progress, but it shows great potential that could change the lives of millions of people worldwide.

 

A boy prints a mechanical hand for his teacher

prosthetic-hand

 

Calramon Mabalot is not your regular kid wreaking havoc on the neighborhood. At 9 years old, he and his brother Calexis (12 years old) have clients all over the world and the largest 3D printing hub in Escondido.

Their teacher, Nick Sissakis, took them to library and the innovation lab where the librarians usually collaborate on scientific projects with the members of the community. Sissakis, born without his right hand, asked them if they could 3D-print a prosthetic hand and over the last few months, the answer became positive.

Using 3D scanners, the brothers and lab staff fitted Sissakis’s arm and over the next few months, they managed to devise a working prototype. When he tried on the hand, he was able to grab a bottle of water and today, Sissakis can hold his daughter with both hands and carry groceries.

“Every couple hours, I’m finding a new way to use it” Sissakis told NBC San Diego.

The main reason why he didn’t have a prosthetic hand was the cost of it. By working with the library, Mabalot brothers have managed to create it for a much more affordable price and they have no intention of stopping their work now. They are looking to make the hand even better, to allow Sissakis to use his cell phone or a tablet.

The Mabalot brothers have a website where they sell their 3D-printed inventions and if these two kids with a huge passion to learn and improve the world we live in right now aren’t an inspiration, then I don’t know who is.

 

Here is to people who work tirelessly to help the world! May we all follow their example!

 

Post Author: Lana Rafaela

Lana Rafaela she still hasn't run into a waddle of penguins screaming at the top of her lungs. You can read more about her on her author page.

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