What is a Medical Device?

In the third of our series of Research Articles for 2015,  Claire Riordan, Science Engagement Officer with the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices in NUI Galway, writes about the history of medical devices and tells us about some of the exciting research being carried out at CÚRAM.

What is a Medical Device?

When you think of a medical device, what do you see? An inhaler? A stent? An artificial hip or a wound dressing?


Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images

Actually, one of the very first medical device inventions was the magnifying glass! It was designed in 1250 by Roger Bacon. It was the first convex lens designed for scientific purposes. In 1280, these lenses were used to correct farsightedness. Now, they are crucial in any surgical procedure.

Continue reading “What is a Medical Device?”

Medicines, by Dr. Enda O’Connell

In the ninth of our weekly series of articles, I have taken off my ReelLIFE SCIENCE hat and put on my Scientist hat.  Or labcoat, gloves and goggles, to be more precise…  As a Senior Technical Officer in NUI Galway, I support a range of research projects across the campus, from Cancer Biology and Stem Cell Research to Chemistry and Biomaterials.  In this article, I write about ‘Medicines’ and how researchers at NUI Galway are looking for new uses for old drugs.

The History of Medicines

Chinese Emperor Shennong tasting plants to test their qualities on himself (image from Wikipedia)

The word ‘medicine’ originally comes from the Latin phrase ‘ars medicina’, which translates as the ‘art of healing’, while the Oxford English Dictionary defines medicine (n) as ‘a substance or preparation used in the treatment of illness; a drug’. The earliest medicines were plant extracts, animal parts and minerals, and their use in healing rituals overseen by medicine men and shamans, often involved much more art than science.  Continue reading “Medicines, by Dr. Enda O’Connell”

The Power of Science, by Dr. Oliver Carroll

In the eighth of our weekly series of articles by NUI Galway researchers, Dr. Oliver Carroll, Research Technical Officer with the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, writes about the power of tissue engineering to help the body to repair injured or degenerated tissue.

Various scaffolds used to promote cell growth and tissue repair: Osteoblast cultured on calcium phosphate scaffold. Collagen sponge for bone regeneration. Collagen sponge for wound healing. Nerve cells cultured on non-aligned collagen scaffold. Aligned electrospun nanofibres (Images courtesy NFB http://www.nfb.ie/research)

Cell regeneration therapy is a developing technology to meet the increasing demand to treat injured or degenerated tissue. Organ transplants are the ideal treatment for many patients with tissue damage, but the demand of organs surpasses available organs for transplantation. There are several types of cell-based regenerative therapies currently being applied, including injection of isolated cells, scaffold engineering, and cell sheet tissue engineering.  Continue reading “The Power of Science, by Dr. Oliver Carroll”