You may wonder “why are stem cells important?” whenever you hear the phrase mentioned.

Without knowing what stem cells can do, they may not seem like that big of a deal. In fact, it may seem like it’s just a buzzword to gain attention.

The truth is that stem cells are an important topic of research in the medical community. 

Would you like to learn about stem cells and how they may be able to contribute to medical science? If so, read about what they are, where they come from, and what they can do below.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are specific types of cells in the human body that can develop into other types of cells, such as brain cells or muscle cells. They also can repair damaged tissues in some situations.

Because stem cells are able to develop into different cell types, they can be used in a wide variety of medical procedures. Research into stem cells and how they work in the body is still ongoing.

Types of Stem Cells

Adult stem cells are in a lot of different organs and tissues. This includes:

  • Brain
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels
  • Skin
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Testis
  • Peripheral blood

Stem cells reside in specific areas of each tissue type, which is called the stem cell niche, and are usually available in small amounts. This is the area that the stem cells grow and since they can be used to accommodate the body as needed, they can grow in different types of tissue, but will create more cells of the same type.

Scientists manipulate the stem cells in the lab to become similar to embryonic stem cells. 

Embryonic stem cells are another type of stem cell that you may have heard of before. They come from embryos that develop from eggs fertilized in vitro. After fertilization, these are donated for research purposes with consent and can be used for a variety of medical procedures.

Why Are Stem Cells Important?

Stem cells are important in today’s research because they have a lot of properties that are not found in other parts of the body. In addition, there has already been research done that has helped us to learn more about ways stem cells can help us when we are sick.

One way that stem cells can help us learn is by studying how diseases occur. If you watch stem cells mature into cells within the body that match other cells, you can see how different diseases may develop in those same areas.

Another good thing about using stem cells is to replace diseased cells in the body. Stem cells can be guided into becoming a specific type of cell that a person needs when they are sick. Examples of people that may benefit from stem cell therapy are:

  • People with type 1 diabetes
  • People with Parkinson’s disease
  • People with Alzheimer’s disease
  • People with heart disease
  • People with cancer
  • People with osteoarthritis

Stem cells can be grown and then transplanted into the person to help them heal in a different way.

Lastly, another big benefit to using stem cells in research is to find out how safe new drugs are or how effective they are in certain types of people. It helps us create drugs that are safer for our bodies without having to test them on real people.

This is still under review, but stem cell research is an exciting field of medicine! There are many benefits of stem cell research that have not even been discovered yet. 

Adult Stem Cell Therapy

Also known as regenerative medicine, this is a type of therapy that helps promote repair in injured tissue using stem cells. In a way, stem cells are used in place of donor organs, which are hard to come by, to help the tissue heal.

Researchers are able to grow stem cells within a lab. These are then specialized to fit a specific type of cells depending on where in the body they need to go to have a positive effect.

After this, the cells are implanted directly into the person where they are experiencing the problem. This way they are able to start healing the correct area right away.

Challenges Being Faced

There is a lot of research being done on stem cells, but there are still not many safe treatments that are available for use. Although we have a lot of information on stem cells now that we did not before, the development of treatments that are safe and effective is still being researched.

Complex diseases, those of which are incurable, will require a complex solution. This is why research into stem cells is so important, but it takes a lot of time.

All stem cell treatments that are considered are experimental until they have passed several stages of trials. This is to ensure they are as safe as possible and offer more benefit than harm. 

Stem cell treatments are only meant to work with the help of a specialist. Only specific people that have specific authorizations can do stem cell work that is effective. Certain places, such as these reliable experts, are going to be suited to do this type of work while others are not capable of it.

Future of Stem Cell Research

Although there is a lot of controversy and opinion regarding stem cells, it is hard to argue that it is not an interesting topic to research.

Now that you understand more about why stem cells are important and how they work, you may want to know what the future holds.

If you are curious about ways to better the health of your body and keep yourself healthy longer, check out our posts regarding health and fitness.

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The Rise of Soft Skills in the Digital Age

I’m not going to waste your time talking about how ingrained technology is in all our lives. You may be reading this on your smartphone while killing time at work, where you stare at a separate screen for hours, only to drive home and turn on another screen to relax.

Or maybe you’re rewarding yourself with a little down time after seeing your Fitbit has recorded an extra 1,000 steps today.  Or your kid is using the computer, so you’re tethered to the wall by the tablet charging cable, looking for a well-written blog post.  Or maybe you’re not, but the point is that you could see yourself, or anyone, in that situation.

This obsession with technology has led to an explosion of never-conceived businesses and jobs. Social media, IT departments, software development, data security, the list goes on, and we’re only going to become more dependent as time goes on.

Organizations estimate that one-third of their human resources budgets are delegated for hiring IT talent; computer science majors experience a 76% increase in their salary in just the first three years. Clearly, the stats all say that hard tech skills are what job seekers should be focusing on. Except that’s not the whole story.

With connectivity comes complexity

As technology becomes more and more ingrained in our lives, so does its complexity.  No one outside of a calculus classroom carries a phone and a calculator. Some of us rarely turn on a PC anymore, since our smartphones are sufficient for quick browsing.  Our cars come enabled with Bluetooth.

Soon, every household appliance will be connected to a singular device, which we will also use to send messages, pay for groceries, tell our car where to take us, open our front door, monitor our daily steps, and automatically remind us of appointments- and it already does most of that.

But as the interconnectivity and complexity of technology rises, our ability to understand it decreases. We can’t keep up with the constant stream of our own inventions. While specialists might be able to fully utilize every software update, most of us can’t be bothered to learn all the nuances every time.

That’s why IT is such an emerging field, but even they won’t be able to keep up with the coming technological evolutions. As Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner, says, “Our best hope may be that computers eventually will become smart enough to maintain themselves.”

Importance of soft skills

Where does that leave business now? While you certainly can’t forego employees with the technical skills that you need, you need soft skills now more than ever. According to an Adecco Staffing survey, there are twice as many business executives concerned with the soft skill gap than those worried about hard skills.

Traits like communication and critical thinking are becoming more highly valued than straight computer skills. Some businesses that require their employees to have technical know-how, like engineering firms, have tried to ignore soft skills in favor of some desperately sought-after experience, but this is no longer possible.

In fact, it’s commercial acumen, communication skills, and adaptability that employers should be prioritizing. Adaptability is especially useful in a world where technology is constantly evolving, and, realistically, malfunctioning.  Sometimes things do not go to plan, and employees need to take that in stride.

Similarly, it won’t matter how well you understand CSS or can fix a pipe if no one can relate to you. Google provides consumers with ten options on just the first page, and they will reject your business if they can’t communicate with your employees.  Additionally, your business will also suffer if your employees can effectively communicate with each other.

Moving forward

It’s important to provide employees with both soft and hard skill training. This can be expensive and time-consuming, so you will have to strike a balance particular to you. If you work in an industry that the hard skills can be learned on the job or fairly quickly, make sure you’re searching for candidates with appropriate soft skills.

However, if your employees must have hard skills before they walk through the door, that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore soft skills entirely. Offer soft skill training and assessments, because while soft skills are more difficult to measure, they are just as important.

That holds true even in this technological age. We may cling to our iEverythings, but only because they allow us to tap into humanity. Your business needs to utilize this underlying need.

People may pay for your product or service if you can deliver, but using the human element gives you that much more leverage.  In a world where your competitors are accessible at the click of a mouse, you’ll need all the soft skills you can get.

Author: Dayton socializes for a living and writes for fun. She will forever be a prisoner of her family’s business, doomed to inherit responsibility despite frequent existential protests. 

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4 Web Design Trends That Are Here To Stay

There are times when it seems like the internet is changing more rapidly than anyone can keep up with and as one trend fades another takes its place. Any business looking to stay ahead of the competition should keep up with the latest trends.

As the internet and online marketing become even more important for businesses, having a great site and utilizing the hottest trends can put you above the competition.

However, no matter how often they change, there is one common element to always keep in mind and that is the user. No matter what design trends you employ on your website, User Experience (UX) should always take front and center stage. With that in mind, the following design trends for 2016 are popular because they enhance the UX.

1. Responsive web design

For the past year and a half, there has been a huge amount of focus on responsive web design. In fact, this is so important to the UX that Google implemented new algorithms to ensure that web masters made the appropriate changes.

A responsive web site is one that conforms well to any screen of any size. Since more users are browsing the web and doing searches from mobile devices, the screens they will be looking at can be quite small.

If a website is not responsive there is no way for everything on a page to load which means that the user will not get the full benefit nor will they be able to navigate well. In fact, the experience is so degraded that Google will not even list sites that are not responsive in their mobile searches.

Related: The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

2. Social media integration

Few people on earth do not belong to a social site and because of this, businesses would do well to pay heed to social media integration as a must have web design trend. Not only can you lead visitors from your website to your Facebook page, for example, but you can invite your Facebook followers to visit your website.

The more followers you get on social media, the higher your chances will be to rank highly with Google and of course that means you should get much more organic traffic. Together with your marketing agency linked search terms can be added to your social pages to direct traffic to your website which will also add to your ranking with the search engines.

3. Minimalist design on landing pages

Once upon a time in website design, people tried to put everything on a landing page, sometimes overwhelming visitors. However, more and more sites now are focusing on a minimalist landing pages that focus more on a core product, rather than trying to sell everything to everyone.

It makes for an easier user experience, especially if they are coming directly from an ad for a product. You can have navigation to the rest of your site, but through using clean graphics and a minimalist design, you focus the attention of the potential customer.

4. Embedded videos

Another design element that Google just loves is embedded videos. This is most likely because of the fact that visitors to your site are more likely to stick around to watch videos than they would if you had none. Videos quickly go viral because people love video – it’s really just that simple.

When seeking increased amounts of traffic, you want to do well with the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and one of the most effective ways of ranking highly is to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. If videos will keep visitors on your page longer, then this is truly a web design trend to employ.

No matter what else you choose to do with the design of your website, these trends are a ‘must have’ if you want to develop a site that is more than competitive.

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