Category Archives: Who knew?

Today’s factoids:


Strings of cells might help future organ transplants

Check out this story from Discover Magazine about  how Japanese scientists are testing injectable string of cells that could someday prevent the immune systems of transplant recipients from attacking the donated organs:

The fibers create a life-like microenvironment in which the cells can function and interact with each other just like normal cells would, while the hydrogel protects them from the body’s immune response.

The research team published a paper about the work earlier this month.

A kidney with its own Twitter account

Australian radio journalist Mark Colvin is a master at Twitter, so it was no surprise when he used a tweet to announce Friday that he was about to undergo a kidney transplant. Within hours, “kidney” was a trending topic in Australia. Then things got really interesting when Colvin’s new organ launched an account of its own:

Colvin, who tweets as @Colvinius, is recovering from what his doctors have deemed a successful transplant. He has no idea who’s behind @ColvinsKidney, but thinks the account is a good way to raise awareness about organ donation.

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Mittens and Fido can be organ donors, too

My dog, Radar, is surprised to be featured on a blog about organ donation. As it turns out, pets can get transplants, too.

Radar is not an organ donor… but could be.

Thank you, Google, for today’s random — but fascinating — discovery: organ transplants aren’t just for people.

Feline kidneys, parts of  dogs’ eyes and bone fragments have all been successfully moved from one pet to another, according to this column on WebMD.

One organization that promotes animal organ donation has this to say about the practice:

Great strides have been made in organ and tissue transplant for animals. Transplant grafts are now preferred for treating a variety of disorders. Fractured or diseased bones can be mended and limbs spared from amputation. Deformed or degenerative joints can be repaired and blindness for some pets can be prevented.

The rules for organ donation in pets are a little different. The owners of a sick dog, for instance, must be willing to adopt the animal the gives up a kidney.

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