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Karen Sprey

Top Articles by Karen Sprey
Dr Iain White analyzes the constituents of medical student Tom Geliot's breath in the DDU

While Star Trek-style multifunctional medical "tricorders" are still in the realm of sci-fi, scientists at the University of Leicester and Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) in the UK may be making the first tentative steps toward making them a reality. The researchers are developing a holistic high-tech diagnostic unit designed to quickly detect the "sight, smell and feel" of disease in real time without the need for invasive and time-consuming procedures. Much of the technology being used was originally developed for space research, atmospheric chemistry and emergency medicine.  Read More

Eating high levels of chocolate could be associated with a significant reduction in the ri...

Chocolate lovers are unlikely ever to need encouragement to indulge, but just in case, here's some good news: researchers have found that higher levels of chocolate consumption have been associated with a 37% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, 31% reduction in diabetes and a 29% reduction for stroke.  Read More

MelApp is an image-based risk assessment mobile app that assists in the early detection of...

Despite years of health promotion campaigns advising us about the dangers of skin cancer, the incidence of the most dangerous type - melanoma - has been steadily rising since the 1970s with around 130,000 cases now diagnosed globally each year according to the World Health Organization. Even if we no longer spend hours sunning ourselves on the beach, extended time outdoors playing sport or socializing can still put us at risk of this deadly cancer. MelApp is an iPhone app designed help detect melanoma at an early - and likely curable - stage using mathematical algorithms and image based pattern recognition technology.  Read More

Most of us are aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US – and globally. But did you know that one in three Americans (36.9 percent) have some form of heart disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and other conditions. By 2030, approximately 116 million people in the United States (40.5 percent) will have some form of cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association predicts treatment costs could triple in the next 20 years, from US$273 billion to $818 billion (in 2008 dollar values), if effective prevention strategies are not developed.  Read More

By night the motorized doors secure the shops behind them

Motorized door technology adapted from airplane hangars and factory buildings, plus recycled materials from two abandoned warehouses have been used to create a dramatic, industrial-inspired facade for the Wyckoff Exchange in the Bushwick section Brooklyn, New York. The 100-foot-long, eighteen-foot-tall facade is only two inches deep, a feat achieved by architecture and design firm Andre Kikoski Architect (AKA) through innovative technology and construction processes.  Read More

Scientists from the University of Amsterdam have developed a range of new thermoset resins...

Scientists from the University of Amsterdam have developed a process for making fully biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous thermoset resins from readily available, low-cost plant materials. This new range of plastics could be used for panels such as MDF in the construction industry and replace polyurethane and polystyrene packaging ... all without increasing cost or production times.  Read More

Scientists at Brown University have developed a new drug delivery system to safely hold a ...

Many people take pills to help manage or cure serious illness, and some of these life-saving drugs can only be absorbed in very specific parts of the intestine. The problem with oral administration is that pills often don’t dissolve at exactly the right site in the gastrointestinal tract where medicine can be absorbed into the bloodstream. A new drug delivery system developed by scientists at Brown University uses a magnetic gelatin capsule and an external magnet that can precisely sense the force between it and the pill and vary that force, as needed, to hold the pill in place. The team has successfully used the technology with rats and in future it could provide a new way to deliver many drugs to humans, including those with cancer or diabetes.  Read More

Charles Burton's historic skyscraper design (left) and the Crystal Palace in 1910

While the debate continues as to whether the world's first skyscraper was the the Home Insurance Building built in Chicago in 1885, or New York's seven floor Equitable Life Assurance Building built in 1870, it seems that the British pipped the Americans to the post in terms of a design. British architect Charles Burton designed a 1,000 foot (305 meter) high metal and glass building in response to a call to redesign The Crystal Palace, the famous London exhibition building, 30-odd years before the American buildings were erected. Burton's historic design sketch is headed for the auction block this week.  Read More

Wikipedia is celebrating its tenth birthday

Like "Google", "Wikipedia" has entered the common lexicon. I haven't yet heard anyone say they're going to Wikipedia something but I'm sure that someone, somewhere, is already doing it. Many of us have Wikipedia bookmarked as our "go to" site, the first port of call to get an overview of a topic. The free, online encyclopedia features roughly 17 million articles in 270 languages, all created by a volunteer community. On 15 January this year Wikipedia celebrates its tenth birthday – what had the potential to become disastrously chaotic has become a valued icon, consulted by more than 400 million people every month.  Read More

A device has been developed that cancels out the noise of the dental drill, and allows you...

Hands up, who doesn't get just the teensiest bit nervous about going to the dentist? Not many of you, I'll wager. Dentophobia – fear of dentists and dental care – is one of the most common phobias, and it's the high-pitched whine of the dentist's drill that causes most anxiety. If this applies to you, take heart. You may soon be able to relax (or at least tune out the sound of the drill) and listen to music on your own MP3 player, connected to a noise-canceling device developed by Kings College London in conjunction with Brunel University and London South Bank University.  Read More

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