Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Karen Sprey

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

Kryptonite provides five to ten times the mechanical strength of the breastbone closure of...

Stories about Kryptonite are sure to pique interest, and this one has both a "super" and a scientific angle. Canadian researchers are using a super glue called Kryptonite to create a stronger closure of the breastbone for heart patients after open chest surgery. This means faster recovery time, fewer complications and less post-operative pain.  Read More

Optician and optometrist Jaume Paune is the creator of contact lenses capable of correctin...

If you suffer from hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness or longsightedness, you may be interested to know that the world's first contact lens to correct the condition has been developed. The correction, however, is temporary – a custom-made lens is worn overnight to reshape the cornea, and when the patient wakes up and removes the lens they have perfect vision for the day.  Read More

Radio-wave technology used to detect bombs and explosives could be utilized to identify co...

Technology used to detect bombs and explosives could have a beneficial side-effect – identifying counterfeit and substandard drugs, which pose a major threat to public health, particularly in developing countries. Around one percent of drugs in developed countries, and 10 to 30 percent of drugs in developing countries are counterfeit, and the percentage of substandard drugs is thought to be even higher. Swedish and British researchers are developing a cheap, reliable system that uses radio waves to analyze the chemical structure of drugs to identify fakes.  Read More

The new development from Jena provides the upper arm with sensory information which is the...

Phantom limb pain, where a person feels pain in an absent limb or a portion of a limb, is a very real phenomenon, most commonly experienced after amputation of an arm or leg. Chronic phantom pain is believed to affect around 10-45% of amputees. It is highly therapy resistant and can last for years, or even a lifetime, despite high dosages of painkillers that put patients at risk of addiction. However, hope may be on the horizon thanks to a modified hand prosthesis which enables feedback between the artificial hand and the brain.  Read More

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