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The Hills are Alive with Synthetic Vocal Chords

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by Jenna Campbell

 
Julie Andrews: living like she means it.

Some people are blessed with beautiful singing voices. This makes it all the more tragic when stars like Julie Andrews, known for her four octave-spanning vocal range, lose their voice. Best known for her roles in My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music, Andrews is now going to take on a new role – celebrity guinea pig for synthetic vocal chords. Though Andrews lost her voice in 1998 after surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules from her throat, Professor Robert Langer is working on an elastic gel that can be injected into scarred vocal tissue and, allegedly, help simulate natural vocal chords. So far tests on animals have shown positive results, and Langer predicts that tests will be done on humans within the next two years.

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