High-Tech Ways to Extend Your Life
What is regenerative medicine? Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest's program, says his team is working to create cells, tissues and organs for patients who may need them. "Right now, of course, we have a limited life span because your parts are breaking down," he says. "But imagine a time in the future when, once those parts start breaking down, you can just plug a new one right in."
Watch Dr. Oz's visit to the tissue regeneration lab.
Over the years, Dr. Atala's researchers have grown nearly two dozen different types of body parts, including muscle, bones and a working heart valve. "I think if we start combining things like better prevention, better care, doing things better for your body, and just with regenerative medicine, we may push [our life spans] up to 120, 130 years," Dr. Atala says.
Dr. Oz says that to build new body parts doctors have to start with a mold. "Then, it's seeded with live cells," Dr. Oz says. "It goes into an incubator where the cells multiply and grow."
This is especially helpful for patients who are on donor waiting lists or whose organs have been destroyed by cancer. For instance, if you need a bladder transplant, Dr. Oz says doctors can build a replacement bladder using your cells in as little as eight weeks.
Regenerative medicine can also be used to make everything from ears to livers.
"You used to read about this in science fiction and couldn't even imagining it happening," Oprah says. "This is unbelievable."
Thankfully, Lee's brother, Dr. Alan Spievack, was a pioneer in cellular regeneration. He gave Lee a powder made from the extracellular matrix material found in pig bladders. "I applied that to the wound and just put a Band-Aid over it," Lee says. "I did it for 10 days ... and in four weeks, I regrew the finger."
Lee says the powder keeps the wound from healing, and in turn, the body sends new cells to that area. Now, Lee's regenerated finger functions and looks just like the others. The only difference? He says the nail grows more quickly than the rest. "This [new nail] is 70 years old," Lee says. "This [regenerated nail] is only three and a half years old. It grows like a tree."
Dr. Oz says cellular regeneration research is ongoing at the University of Pittsburgh.
While sports stars and celebrities have been getting oxygen therapy for years, Dr. Oz never tried it...until now! After an hour—the usual treatment time—Dr. Oz comes out of the chamber feeling more alert and jazzed up.
"It's a pretty cool feeling. It's like being in a sub, or if you're a scuba diver, that's what it feels like when you get pressurized," he says. "A lot of folks might equate it to being in a plane. Your ears begin to pop."
When you take oxygen and pressurize it in a tube, Dr. Oz says the oxygen is forced into a person's cells. "It gets me to mobilize stem cells from my bone marrow," he says. "It gets those cells moving along so it goes out to heal areas. In some parts of the body, like the brain, where you don't always have a lot of oxygen in the tissues, it might improve memory. It might play a role in making those cells which have energy factories function more efficiently."
Oxygen therapy isn't just for people who want to live longer. It's also speeds up the healing process for wounds and helps repairs broken bones. If you're interested, Dr. Oz encourages you to seek out qualified technicians.
"They should usually be used in a hospital with folks really watching what's happening," he says. "You have to wear 100 percent cotton, because it's oxygen in there, and oxygen's combustible. If you have synthetic fabrics, those fabrics can rub and make a spark."
Dr. Oz says his in-laws introduced him to the infrared sauna, which is slightly different than a normal sauna. "It makes the same rays that come from the sun and filters out the UV radiation, so it only gives you the infrared radiation," he says. "That radiation that's infrared goes a little bit into your skin so, without heating you up and the external environment too much, it heats the body up."
After a few minutes in the sauna, Oprah says she's starting to feel the heat. Dr. Oz says the high temperature helps lower blood pressure and increase blood circulation. "It gets your heart to beat faster, and it burns calories," Dr. Oz says. "It raises your metabolism a little bit, and also when you sweat, you sweat out toxins through the skin."
This Japanese invention has a tube in the middle of the bowl that collects your urine. Then, the machine analyzes your sugar levels.
Though it only tests for sugar levels today, Dr. Oz believes this toilet will someday be able tell you more about your health and help you identify issues before they become serious. "This is what the future of medicine is going to be about," he says.
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