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pig skin eye implants, pig implants restored vision, healing blindness
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This little piggie went to the eye doctor.

Pigskin has already proven to be extremely useful for treating wounds, due to being genetically similar human skin. But can it cure blindness? The science seems to lead toward yes.

pig skin eye implant Giphy

A new study, published in Nature Biotechnology, revealed that 14 out of 14 blind patients significantly restored their eyesight—with a few even achieving perfect 20/20 vision—after receiving bioengineered implants made of collagen, a protein found in human skin, and, you guessed it … pigskin.

Each of the patients, all in Iran and India, suffered from a progressive condition called keratoconus, where the cornea (the transparent layer that covers the pupil and iris) thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape.

Corneal damage is one of the leading causes of blindness globally, and though it is currently treatable through transplants, there is a low amount of human donor corneas available, especially to those with low to middle income.

Being a food byproduct, pigskin is not only accessible, but a much more cost-effective transplant material. That’s what makes this study and its findings so potentially groundbreaking.


How scientists created the implants is cool too. Pig collagen was first liquified. This in itself is no easy task, as the material is “prone to degradation.” But after using the same techniques that keep collagen-based skin grafts stable, researchers created a transparent, implantable hydrogel that can mimic a human cornea. On first glance, it could be mistaken for a contact lens.

pig skin eye plant

An image of the hydrogel before insertion.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-022-01408-w/figures/1

After surgeons make a small incision into the patient’s cornea, the hydrogel is inserted, which thickens the cornea and allows doctors to improve its curvature. The results, though varied, were dramatically positive. Meaning, at worst, some still had to use corrective lenses. And at best, some gained perfect vision.


Overall, this procedure could be cheaper, quicker and less invasive than traditional cornea implants. And perhaps safer, considering there were no adverse reactions experienced after two years following treatment. Neil Lagali, a professor of experimental ophthalmology at Linköping University in Sweden who co-authored the study, told NBC News, "There’s always a risk for rejection of the human donor tissue because it contains foreign cells. Our implant does not contain any cells ... so there’s a minimal risk of rejection."

pig eye implant, pig skin restores visio

Will wonders never cease?

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

There have been several technological advances allowing those with visual impairments to interact with their environment in new ways: apps that allow users to listen to, rather than view, a map of the world around them, smart glasses for both those who are blind and colorblind, even new legislation to make electric cars safer by mandating artificial engine sounds. Even Braille, arguably the oldest form of vision tech, has been given a modern spin with easy-to-use e-readers and electronic toys that teach Braille to preschoolers.

This innovation is yet another huge step for inclusion. According to CBS, Mehrdad Rafat, the researcher and entrepreneur behind the design and development of the implants, said in a press release, "We've made significant efforts to ensure that our invention will be widely available and affordable by all and not just by the wealthy. That's why this technology can be used in all parts of the world."

Science never ceases to amaze or move us forward.

Tasty snacks that give back

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In a survey earlier this year, we heard from you—our Upworthy audience—that hunger is an issue you really care about. We agree that addressing hunger is critical. The data shows that 13 million children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition so we began to look for ways we could help.

There is no single, easy solution to the hunger crisis. Earlier this year, Congress passed $11 billion legislation to direct food aid where it is needed most, and aid is coming from governments and agencies around the world to help curb the crisis.

These commitments are amazing, but we know each of you would like to be a part of the solution. What if you could help end child hunger with something you’re already doing? Every day, we make decisions about how to feed our families. As it turns out, some of these choices can do more than simply feed the mouths in our own homes.

This is why we are so excited to join forces with This Saves Lives—a humanitarian snack brand built on the idea that one small action can turn into something massive. The model is simple: for every snack you purchase, they give life-saving food to a child in need. They have already donated over 30 million packets of life-saving food in Haiti, Guatemala, Kenya and beyond.

Some of This Saves Lives' most meaningful work has been providing food through its partner Second Mile Haiti. Consider Planika, who at five and a half years old weighed only 22 pounds, the average weight of a 1 year old. Her aunt took her to Second Mile Haiti and after six weeks of life-saving food, she gained over 15 pounds. At the age of 7, Planika was healthy enough to start a school where she loves learning the alphabet.

Through This Saves Lives, the choices we make for our families can have a positive impact around the world. That’s why we’re proud to welcome This Saves Lives to the Upworthy family. We are excited to combine forces and envision a future where every child is safe, happy and healthy.

Will you join us? Click here to find the perfect This Saves Lives snack for your family and give life-saving food to children in need.

Pennsylvania's State Route 100.

A quick-thinking 10-year-old boy escaped a woman trying to lure him by pretending that a local store clerk was his mother. ABC 6 reports that Sammy Green was walking home from school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on Friday, November 11, when a strange woman started following him.

The woman "started walking with him and asking him where his family was, asking where his dad was," Sam Green, the boy's father, told ABC6. The boy didn’t know the woman but she insisted that she knew his family.

She tried to lure him into going with her by promising she’d buy him “anything he wanted” at Wawa, a local convenience store that sells shakes, sandwiches and other treats.

"She was like, 'I'm going to Wawa, are you going there? What are you getting from Wawa? Where's your family at?'" Sammy told CBS.

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Dancers' fancy footwork makes it look like they're literally floating across the stage

For nearly 75 years, Berezka dancers have wowed audiences with their kinda freaky but super cool skills.

The Berezka dancers appear to float like magic across the stage when they dance.

Watching someone dance usually means watching their legs and feet move in creative, graceful or rhythmic ways. Dance steps are called dance steps for a reason, after all.

But for nearly 75 years, Russia's Berezka dancers have delighted audiences with their dance skills without anyone catching so much as a glimpse of their legs or feet. Berezka dancers' dance steps are clearly impressive when you see what they do with them, but no one gets to see the steps themselves.

How can that be?

Berezka dancers' floor-length dresses (called sarafans, the traditional female dress of the Russian peasant class, according to ARTpublika Magazine) hide what their feet are doing as they seem to "float" around on the stage. But make no mistake, they really are moving their feet themselves, without the use of wheels or treadmills or hoverboards or whatever else it might look like they're using.

You'd be forgiven for not believing it, because check out what they look like in unison:

What the heck kind of sorcery is this?

The original choreographer of the "floating step," Nadezhda Nadezhdina, described the method to The New York Times in 1972. “You have to move in very small steps on the very low half-toe with the body held in a certain corresponding position.” It is apparently very difficult to perfect.

If you prefer to keep the floating dance steps a mystery, stop here, but if you want to see a tutorial showing how these dancers manage to move around the stage without their heads bobbing so much as an inch, this tutorial shows what their feet are doing. (Skip to minute 4:20 to see her doing the steps quickly.)

lezginka (female) workshop (easy way)

via Pixabay

Boy's heartfelt words touch everyone in adoption hearing.

The adoption proceedings in the courtroom may have made Jennifer Hubby 5-year-old Cameron’s legal mother. But his words at the end of the proceedings showed the true bond between mother and son.

According to USA Today, at the end of an adoption hearing in Bernalillo, New Mexico, Judge Cheryl H. Johnston asked if anyone had any final words. Cameron shocked everyone when he spoke up. "I wanted to say that I love my mom so much and that’s she the best mom I ever had," the boy told the judge.

The boy's heartfelt words made Jennifer emotional so Cameron put his arms around her in a loving show of support. The touching moment was caught on camera by Milly Davies, Jennifer’s best friend who can be heard welling up as she films the magic moment.

It was the perfect encapsulation of what it means for mother and son to be united through adoption.

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