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Crohn’s disease illustration wins science Wellcome Image Awards

An illustration depicting the debilitating effects of Crohn’s disease has taken out the top award in science images for 2017.

Stickman

The Wellcome Image Awards was established 20 years ago to give accolades to the world’s most outstanding science images.

As time, technology and science has progressed, the awards have expanded to include new and exciting types of images.

This year first place was awarded to an artist who goes by the alter ego Spooky Pooka, for his artwork Stickman – The Vicissitudes of Crohn’s.

The skeleton made of sticks instead of bones represents the transformative nature of Crohn’s disease after a flare up and the associated weight loss and fragility.

Spooky Pooka suffers Crohn’s disease, which is caused by an inflammation of the digestive system.

Fergus Walsh, BBC medical correspondent and member of the judging panel said the image was a “stunning representation” of what it must be like to have Crohn’s disease.

“It’s like nothing I’ve seen before in terms of the portrayal of someone’s condition: it conveys the pain and torment the sufferer must go through,” he said.

“The image really resonates and is beautifully composed: it’s a haunting piece.”

Imaging technique: Computer-generated imagery (CGI)/digital art and illustration

Artist: Spooky Pooka

Julie Dorrington Award: Intraocular lens ‘iris clip’

This is the second year the Julie Dorrington Award for outstanding photography in a clinical environment has been awarded.

A close-up photograph showing how an iris clip is fitted to an eye took out the category.

The iris clip is a small, thin lens made from silicone or acrylic material affixed by tiny 3mm incisions to the iris of the eye.

The clip is used to treat conditions like nearsightedness and cataracts, and the particular 70-year-old man in this photograph regained almost full vision after the surgery.

Imaging technique: Clinical photography

Artist: Mark Bartley, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cat skin and blood supply

One of the shortlisted images is this polarised light micrograph of a section of cat skin showing hairs, whiskers and their blood supply.

Imaging technique: Polarised light microscopy

Artist: David Linstead

Pigeon thermoregulation

In this shortlisted image, the intricate network of blood vessels in this pigeon’s neck is visible at the bottom of the picture.

The scientist created a contrast agent which allows them to see the entire network of blood vessels in an animal, down to the capillary level.

The pigeon controls its body temperature through this extensive blood supply just below the skin.

Imaging technique: Computed tomography (CT) and digital imaging

Artist: Scott Echols, Scarlet Imaging and the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project

Vessels of a healthy mini-pig eye

This shortlisted image is a 3D model of a healthy mini-pig eye.

It is made from ABS, the same material as Lego, and took 39 hours to print.

Imaging technique: Computed tomography (CT) and 3D printing

Artist: Peter M Maloca, OCTlab at the University of Basel and Moorfields Eye Hospital, London; Christian Schwaller; Ruslan Hlushchuk, University of Bern; Sébastien Barré

Hawaiian bobtail squid

The nocturnal predator, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, is depicted in this shortlisted image.

The black ink sac and light organ in the centre of the squid’s mantle cavity can be clearly seen.

Imaging technique: Photomacrography

Artist: Mark R Smith, Macroscopic Solutions

Developing spinal cord

This shortlisted image shows the open end of a mouse’s neural tube. The blue in each image highlights one of the three main embryonic tissue types.

The image on the left highlights the neural tube, which develops into the brain, spine and nerves, while the one on the right shows the surface ectoderm, which will eventually form the skin, teeth and hair.

The middle image shows the mesoderm, which will eventually form the mouse’s organs.

Imaging technique: Confocal microscopy

Artist: Gabriel Galea, University College London

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