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With the advances in technology and medicine that we see every day we sometimes think about the role played by the engineer in medicine. For example the artificial artery has to meet many specifications. It's very interesting to me as a chemist and engineer to find out how lucky we are we have a very complicated system than our circulatory system. It just appears that blood is one of the most mysterious fluids that I've ever encountered and it's only happy when it's inside. Blood vessels are they are components of the circulatory system. If you scratch so that blood comes out it clots immediately. The speaker is Dr. Howard Clark who is working with materials for use in medicine. In a moment he talks about some of his work. Challenges in education presented by Duke University.
Here with today's feature. Dr. Howard G Clarke associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke has been working with different materials for use in the body. One problem that has to be solved is to find a material for use in artificial kidneys and heart lung machines that will not cause blood to coagulate when a patient's blood is being processed through this type of machine or through an artificial lung. And some of the heart open heart surgery. The patient's blood is treated with an anticoagulant. But there are certain hazards connected with using these anticoagulants and if we could develop surfaces that would mimic the blood vessel function then we could we could cut down or eliminate the use of the anticoagulant with greater safety for the patient giving the surgeons the ability to work longer with the patient hooked up to some of these sophisticated
machines and restoring people to good health more readily. Dr. Clark has also been working on a material that could be used as an organ in the body. We can make plastics that are impermeable to gases are we can make plastics that will allow large molecules that are present in blood to diffuse through them disarrange of properties that vailable has opened up many ways in which we can imitate the functions of body organs. He tells us about the artificial kidney. It's possible to purify a blood. Artificial kidney which really consists of two sheets of a material like cellophane and a sandwich arrangement the blood is pumped through the middle of the sandwich and on either side of the
cellophane layers a washing solution which is water with some salts and other materials added to get the right properties which carries off the products of nitrogenous waste. Dr Clark indicates why cooperation between men and specialists is necessary to obtain good results. We have problems in adjusting the properties of the membrane that the membrane is the thin layer through which the impurities in blood diffuse to get the right size materials through and still have the right strength. And a very interesting and very important function here is to have a surface for this membrane particular surface that's in contact with blood should do minimum damage to the blood. The engineer the chemist the doctor all striving to meet the challenges of the medical world. This is Charles Brussel with challenges in education from Duke
University. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Challenges in education
Engineers in medicine
Producing Organization
Duke University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Program number 137 talks about the role of the engineer in medicine.
Series Description
This series presents problems facing educators today.
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Host: Braswell, Charles
Interviewee: Clark, Howard G.
Producing Organization: Duke University
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35i-137 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:04:24
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Chicago: “Challenges in education; Engineers in medicine,” 1969-04-23, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Challenges in education; Engineers in medicine.” 1969-04-23. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Challenges in education; Engineers in medicine. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from