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9 Incredible Things Science Can Almost Do

Preserve Organs Longer

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A company called TransMedics has developed an experimental device that keeps hearts and lungs alive while they're transported from the donor to the recipient. Usually organs come in a cooler on ice, which means doctors only have about five to ten hours to get the organ to the recipient, according to the University of Michigan transplant center. Known as the Organ Care System, this new device circulates blood and pumps oxygen, keeping the organs alive. The machine isn't yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the U.S., but eight hospitals around the country are testing it out in a clinical trial.

Photo: Getty Images

Measure Calories with a Microwave

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Tired of estimating your calorie count? General Electric researchers have a prototype device that directly measures the calories in your food. So far it only works on blended foods, but a version of the device—which can measure an entire meal on a plate—is in progress.

RELATED: The Weird Science Behind Your Food Cravings

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Grow Human Hearts

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Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh used stem cells to grow human heart tissue. Ways have to be found to make the heart contract strongly enough to pump blood effectively and to rebuild the heart's electrical conduction system, but scientists have yet to grow one that is fully functional. This is a huge movement toward growing various organs for transplant.  

Allow Blind People to See

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A company called Second Sight recently received FDA approval for trials of a retinal implant system (and we thought contacts were complicated). A camera built into glasses sends images to a microchip, which processes images into electrical pulses that the retinal implant sends to the brain, just like a functioning retina would. In the first version of the implant, patients were able to perceive shapes and detect movement to varying degrees. The newest version of the system should offer greater image resolution because it has far more electrodes.

Photo: Getty Images

Capture an Asteroid

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After a meteor explosion above Russia, and some very close flybys of other asteroids, NASA has a plan to capture a small asteroid and drag it into the moon’s orbit to be studied and visited by astronauts, they announced in July last year. There will be an exploration flight test this December, according to NASA’s Asteroid Initiative, so keep your eyes open for any news!

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Rehabilitate Paraplegics

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With a combination of electrical stimulation and stand and step training, four paralyzed patients with spinal cord injuries were able to move their legs, ankles, and toe muscles on their own during a study done by the National Institute of Health. Patients in the study received a spinal cord implant and a device that delivered electrical stimulation, which allowed them some control over their muscles when given audio cues or when they thought about moving.

Photo: Getty Images

Provide Immunity to Cancer

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A Mayo Clinic patient who suffered from multiple myeloma is now cancer-free thanks to an experimental procedure in which she received an extremely high dose of the measles vaccine. The vaccine was delivered in a single injection over the course of an hour. Within a week, her tumors started shrinking and within three months she was completely free of the disease. Another multiple myeloma patient received the treatment, and although not in remission, also showed a reduction of bone marrow cancer and myeloma protein. Next, researchers will start a phase two clinical trial for multiple myeloma patients on the path toward FDA-approval. If the results echo this first finding, the treatment could be available within four years. There are plans to test the treatment for other diseases such as ovarian cancer, head and neck cancers, and mesothelioma too.

Photo: Getty Images

Grow Food In a Lab

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In an attempt to find ways to solve world hunger, Google co-founder Sergey Brin funded the world first lab-grown burgers. Created from stem cells, the burgers are actual meat, but there were no cows sacrificed for it. When a select group of people were able to actually eat the burgers, they claimed that the texture was the same as natural beef—minus a little bit of flavor.

Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

Cure Type 1 Diabetes

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Type 1 diabetes has been reversed in mice, and one Spanish study showed it was possible to control it in dogs with the disease. Only a single gene therapy session was necessary to return our furry friends’ blood sugar levels to normal in that study. And get this: In some cases, the dogs continued to be monitored for over four years, with no recurrence of symptoms. Future studies with shed light on how to eventually and possibly translate this research to humans.

RELATED: New Study: Tree Nuts Cut Diabetes Risk