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Disgustingly Helpful Medical Advances

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Did you know parasitic gut worms may help prevent you from developing allergies? Or that the fluid excreted from maggots might actually be helpful in keeping your wounds clean? Were you aware that an even healthier version of human breast milk can be produced by mice spliced with human genes? The real question, of course, isn't how helpful these discoveries may be, it's how willing will people be to apply these treatments to themselves and their loved ones?

WebEcoist has a great collection of strange animal research advances, including the previously mentioned discoveries and more. Just be sure not to read the article around lunch time.

[Image courtesy of Sean Dreilinger's Flickr stream.]

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photography
This Is What Flowers Look Like When Photographed With an X-Ray Machine
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Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Peruvian Daffodil” (1938)

Many plant photographers choose to showcase the vibrant colors and physical details of exotic flora. For his work with flowers, Dr. Dain L. Tasker took a more bare-bones approach. The radiologist’s ghostly floral images were recorded using only an X-ray machine, according to Hyperallergic.

Tasker snapped his pictures of botanical life while he was working at Los Angeles’s Wilshire Hospital in the 1930s. He had minimal experience photographing landscapes and portraits in his spare time, but it wasn’t until he saw an X-ray of an amaryllis, taken by a colleague, that he felt inspired to swap his camera for the medical tool. He took black-and-white radiographs of everything from roses and daffodils to eucalypti and holly berries. The otherworldly artwork was featured in magazines and art shows during Tasker’s lifetime.

Selections from Tasker's body of work have been seen around the world, including as part of the Floral Studies exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in San Diego in 2016. Prints of his work are also available for purchase from the Stinehour Wemyss Editions and Howard Greenberg Gallery.

Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)

X-ray image of a rose.
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “A Rose” (1936)

All images courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery.

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science
How Komodo Dragons Could One Day Help Save Your Life
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iStock

Some potential drugs and life-saving compounds are created in labs, but others exist in nature. In the American Chemical Society’s latest "Reactions" video below, you can learn how the bacteria-fighting peptide found in Komodo dragons' blood, the unique antibacterial compound found in Antarctic sea sponges, and the blue blood of horseshoe crabs—which clumps around invasive bacteria—are helping doctors develop new treatments and keep their patients safe.

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