The Anonymous Widower

Are There Any Medical Application For Large Amounts Of Electricity?

I ask this question, as an eminent medical researcher has just thanked me by text for my energy posts.

It could be that he sees some benefit in having lots of energy available from wind.

I have a few thoughts.

Are Electricity Bills Getting To Be A Larger Proportion Of The Running Costs Of Hospitals Or Medical Research Establishments?

We are all suffering to some extent from higher electricity prices, but some of the latest medical equipment with large electromagnets and powerful X-rays must be expensive on electricity.

Proton Therapy

Does proton therapy use very large amounts of electricity and is this one of the reasons, that these seemingly-powerful machines are thin on the ground?

So if electricity is much more plentiful and hopefully more affordable, is this going to mean that proton therapy is used more often?

Synchrotrons

The Diamond Light Source is described like this in Wikipedia.

Diamond Light Source (or Diamond) is the UK’s national synchrotron light source science facility located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. Its purpose is to produce intense beams of light whose special characteristics are useful in many areas of scientific research. In particular it can be used to investigate the structure and properties of a wide range of materials from proteins (to provide information for designing new and better drugs), and engineering components (such as a fan blade from an aero-engine) to conservation of archeological artifacts (for example Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose).

There are more than 50 light sources across the world. With an energy of 3 GeV, Diamond is a medium energy synchrotron currently operating with 32 beamlines.

When the history of the pandemic is written, Diamond may well turn out to be one of the heroes.

This page on the Diamond web site, lists some of the applications of a particular analysis, that Diamond can perform.

Under Life Sciences and Bio-Medicine, this is said.

One of the remarkable exploits of SRIR microspectroscopy is probing single isolated cells and tissues at sub-cellular resolution, collecting broadband molecular information with excellent spectral quality via the diffraction limited microbeam. Studying individual cells is important because it reveals the cell-cell differences (e.g. due to cell cycle or biological variability) which are averaged together in conventional IR imaging or spectroscopy. This is important for identifying the subtle underlying spectral differences of interest in the research.

Applications include developing spectral biomarkers for disease diagnosis – particularly cancer research, location of stem cells within tissues, following effects of natural and synthetic chemicals on stem-cell differentiation and quantifying drug sensitivity.

A key development recently achieved is moving from fixed and dried samples to ex vivo, living conditions in the natural aqueous environment and time-dependent studies of biological processes. The combined requirements of high spatial resolution, rapid data acquisition and high photon flux (due to strong IR absorption by water) make synchrotron radiation an invaluable microanalysis tool.

In the THz part of the spectrum, very bright (coherent) synchrotron radiation (CSR) is useful in the study of low energy modes, especially in highly absorbing samples. The THz properties of biological materials is a rapidly growing field, from the organism level (imaging) down to fundamental spectroscopy at the biochemical level, where, for example, the solvation shell around proteins can be studied via changes in low energy hydrogen bonds.

That all sounds impressive.

As with NMR, which I used in the 1960s and as since been developed into MRi, I wonder if important hospitals and universities will have their own mini-Diamonds to do the analyses described above.

Again what will be the electricity bill?

Conclusion

I suspect that electricity may be a significant cost of the running some of these new machines and an abundance of wind power, which reduces the cost of electricity, may improve medical research and treatment.

 

 

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Health | , , , , , | 4 Comments