Dialysis: An Experiment In Universal Health Care

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Jose Perez, 22, receives dialysis treatment at a clinic in New York.
Perez suffers from renal failure and receives
dialysis treatment three times a week.

Every year, more than 100,000 Americans start dialysis treatment, a form of chronic care given to people with failing kidneys. And for many, the cost is completely free. Since 1972, when Congress granted comprehensive coverage under Medicare to any patient diagnosed with kidney failure, both dialysis and kidney transplants have been covered for all renal patients.

But a new joint investigation between The Atlantic and ProPublica found many problems with dialysis in the U.S.: The cost of treatment is among the world’s highest, while the U.S. mortality rate for dialysis patients is one of the world’s worst. One in four patients will die within 12 months of starting treatment…

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‘DIY’ Dialysis Machine Saves Girl

‘DIY’ Dialysis Machine Saves Girl

 Dr Coulthard designed the machine

A baby dying from kidney failure was saved when her doctor designed and built her a dialysis machine from scratch in his garage.

Millie Kelly was too small for conventional NHS machines, so Dr Malcolm Coulthard and a colleague constructed a scaled-down version.

Two years later, her mother Rebecca says she is “fit as a fiddle”.

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Tissue Engineers Creating Complex Tissue They Call Living Legos

Tissue Engineers Creating Complex Tissue They Call Living Legos

 Living Legos: Polymer building blocks whose complexity mimics that of human tissues.

Tissue engineers are ambitious. If they had their way, a dialysis patient could receive a new kidney made in the lab from his own cells, instead of waiting for a donor organ that his immune system might reject. Likewise, a diabetic could, with grafts of lab-made pancreatic tissue, be given the ability to make insulin again. But tissue engineering has stalled in part because bioengineers haven’t been able to replicate the structural complexity of human tissues. Now researchers have taken an important first step toward building complex tissues from the bottom up by creating what they call living Legos. These building blocks, biofriendly gels of various shapes studded with cells, can self-assemble into complex structures resembling those found in tissues.

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