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How is engineering curing illnesses and diseases?

We learn all about engineering in neuroscience as Undercover Engineers...

Welcome to Undercover Engineers – Access All Areas. We’ve teamed up with inspirational engineers from around the globe, who are all working to make the world a better place.

From Missions to Mars to technology exploring the deepest oceans, from nano technology, to the design of some of the largest structures on earth. Exciting new innovations in engineering are changing and shaping our world in some amazing ways.

Let’s take a look at how engineers are changing medicine.

How engineering saves lives:

When we think about people who work in medicine we might think of doctors and nurses. We might also think about people who create medicines in labs.

However, engineering is also vital to the medical field. Innovations in medical engineering are saving lives and helping treat illnesses all around the world.

In fact during the Covid pandemic, engineers were using their expertise to make equipment that saved lives.

hospital interior photo

During the pandemic Covid was causing more people to need ventilators – a type of medical equipment which helps people who can’t breathe by themselves breathe. 

Because ventilators were desperately needed so quickly some of the parts couldn’t be made quick enough. So instead very clever engineers were using reverse engineering techniques to deconstruct items to work out how these items could be made faster. They were able to make equipment in days.

Medical engineers are responsible for all sorts of other life saving equipment.

  • If you’ve ever had to have medical tests using a machine like an MRI scanner then it has been designed by engineers.
  • Doctors are now using robots to complete really intricate surgeries – these robots are being created by engineers.
  • In the field of neuro-science, engineers are out there coming up with ways to treat patients with paralysis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – among other illnesses and diseases. 

Engineering and Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the study of the brain and the nervous system. 

Neuroscientists work towards developing an understanding of the structure, development and functions of the brain. These studies are used to help find cures for diseases and improve the quality of life.

Neuroscientists are beginning to create ways of helping people using technology built by engineers.

For example a hospital in Bristol have created a small device which when implanted into the brain can reverse the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease which can make walking difficult. 

The device works by over riding brain-cell firing patterns caused by Parkinson’s Disease – how amazing!

It works in a really interesting way. Think of our brains as roads in a city which carry signals to different parts of the body, for example to tell them to move. When one of the roads is damaged it means these signals can’t be carried to the right place. A lot of the research being done in neuroscience is looking at how we can use technology to rebuild these roads.

If you’re interested in helping people and building new technology then neuroscience might be for you. The world of neuroscience is changing so quickly that the future is very bright for this research. 

Advancements in artificial intelligence are helping the medical field get quicker and more accurate diagnosis’ as well as creating personal health plans to help people recover from illnesses – who knows what advancements it could create in the future. 

Listen to the whole podcast on Neuroscience – where we interview Professor Courtine who is using technology to help patients walk again after paralysis.

Created with the support from The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

For more information visit The IET.

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Fun Kids Learn

Discover something amazing! See what you can find...

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