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Karen Sprey

Poo-Gloos (Bio-Domes) prior to submersion in a sewage lagoon

Poo isn't something generally talked about in polite company but like it or not, all of that human waste has to go somewhere. In smaller rural communities, it usually goes to wastewater lagoon systems; the alternative is mechanical treatment plants which process waste far more quickly but are expensive, labor intensive and often use chemicals. Enter the "Poo-Gloo," or Bio-Dome as it is officially known – an igloo-shaped device that can reportedly clean up sewage as effectively, but far more cheaply, than its mechanical counterparts. The Poo-Gloo, developed by Wastewater Compliance Systems, Inc., uses a combination of air, dark environment and large surface area to encourage the growth of a bacterial biofilm which consumes the wastewater pollutants. It is claimed that Poo-Gloos can treat pollutants just as quickly as mechanical plants while operating at a fraction of the cost – hundreds of dollars a month rather than thousands – and can be retrofitted to existing lagoon systems.  Read More

The ECO:Shield housing system is suitable for temporary use in disaster areas or for areas...

Each year natural disasters and civil unrest leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless throughout the world. Many of these crises occur in developing nations where traditional building materials are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive, and where the focus is often on staying alive, not maintenance of a home. The ECO:Shield system from Innovative Composites International Inc. (ICI) may present a welcome solution. The earthquake and hurricane resistant houses use recyclable materials and according to ICI, are cheaper than both conventional and other modular constructions. They are energy efficient and durable – resisting moisture, insects, rot and mould. And they can be constructed quickly using unskilled labor: an 8' x 16' (2.4 x 4.9 meters) ECO:Shield house can be assembled in less than 45 minutes with standard tools.  Read More

Muscle cells of untreated mice with muscular dystrophy (left) show little utrophin in cell...

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common and severe childhood form of muscular dystrophy (MD), affecting one in 3,500 boys. The disease progressively weakens muscles cells and tissues until muscle degradation is so severe that the patient dies, most often in their late teens or twenties. Scientists at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and the University of Pennsylvania, hope their research into the human protein, biglycan, will ultimately improve the condition of muscular dystrophy sufferers. Their studies have shown that biglycan significantly slows muscle damage and improves function in mice with the Duchenne genetic mutation. Human clinical trials will be the next step.  Read More

Sensium-based devices continuously measured the physical effects of minus 40 degree temper...

Wearable health monitors have been available for some time, providing feedback on functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. They represent the tip of a potentially huge health and fitness market, from athletes and emergency services personnel to patients both in and recently discharged from hospital, who could benefit from real-time, intelligent wireless body monitoring of vital signs. Telemetry technology provider Toumaz has developed an ultra-low power system to wirelessly monitor heart rate, ECG, temperature and physical activity. The Sensium Life Platform has just been used to monitor the health of team members during a record-breaking 4,000 kilometer transantarctic expedition that not only made the fastest vehicle crossing of the Antarctic, but was also the first expedition to use biofuels extensively in Antarctica, and featured the first bio-fuelled vehicle ever to reach the South Pole.  Read More

A newly developed acoustic rectifier could improve the image quality of sonograms (Photo: ...

Sonography, or ultrasound imaging, is commonly used for diagnostic and therapeutic applications – the best-known example being photos and videos of developing fetuses that expectant parents excitedly wave around. Because ultrasound relies on sound waves being sent into the body and then reflected back to create the image, the interference creating by these waves meeting causes some degradation of image brightness and resolution. In order to enable stronger, sharper medical imaging, scientists at Nanjing University in China have developed an "acoustic rectifier" that forces sound waves to travel in only one direction.  Read More

Low temperature plasma has been used to kill drug-resistant bacteria in wounds, offering a...

Cold plasma has received a further boost as a potential alternative to antibiotics in the fight against multi-drug resistant bacteria. A study published by a Russian-German research team found that just ten minutes of treatment with a low temperature (35-40°C/95-104°F) plasma torch killed drug-resistant bacteria in wound infections in rats and also increased the rate at which wounds healed.  Read More

The PlasmaButton Electrode developed by Olympus promises fast, accurate and gentle treatme...

A new low-temperature plasma technology promises less invasive treatment for men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. The PlasmaButton Vaporisation Electrode developed by Olympus allows surgeons to literally vaporize the enlarged prostate tissue quickly, safely and virtually bloodlessly, with minimal damage to healthy tissue.  Read More

The active electrode book - the four slots close in around the nerve roots like the pages ...

Paraplegics may soon find it easier to exercise their leg muscles through activities such as cycling and rowing thanks to a tiny microchip implanted in the spinal canal. Dubbed the Active Book because of its booklike appearance, the microchip combines electrodes and a muscle stimulator in one unit the size of a child's fingernail.  Read More

Siemens Healthcare and Olympus Medical Systems Corporation are collaborating on the develo...

Stomach examinations may soon become more comfortable and less invasive with the development of a magnetically guided capsule endoscope. Jointly developed by Olympus and Siemens, the capsule is swallowed by the patient and wirelessly transmits high-res, real-time images from inside the stomach while the doctor navigates using a joystick.  Read More

A new light technology, using a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths called HINS-l...

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is one of the most prevalent and difficult to eradicate superbugs in hospitals, having become resistant to multiple antibiotics. A less well known bacterium Clostridium difficile (C diff), is also antibiotic resistant and on the increase. Infection prevention procedures used to address one superbug will not work for others, and traditional decontamination methods can be harmful to staff and patients. This new lighting system that kills bacterial pathogens but is harmless to humans may help beat this potentially deadly threat in our hospitals. The technology decontaminates the air and exposed surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths, known as HINS-light.  Read More

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