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Karen Sprey

The Amadeo Robotic Hand and Tibion Robotic Leg are helping to rehabilitate stroke victims

It's a long time since The Six Million Dollar Man graced our TV screens; indeed, many Gizmag readers may be too young to have heard of Steve Austin, the Bionic Man. Bionics and robotics have come a long way in the past few years, and while we're not yet creating bionic men and women, we can at least claim to make people "better, stronger, and faster." A robotic hand and bionic leg undergoing clinical trials at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center are two promising neurorehabilitation devices that are helping stroke survivors regain movement in affected limbs by rewiring neural pathways.  Read More

A new drug, PQ, has been shown to protect mice from the toxic effects of radiation on norm...

Radiation is a frontline treatment for many cancers. However, its therapeutic value can come at the cost of damage to the bone marrow which produces all of the body's normal blood cells, so finding ways to protect bone marrow is a research priority. A study by the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has shown that the drug PQ can successfully protect mice from lethal doses of radiation, even when given after exposure.  Read More

StatNet is a single-use EEG which contains electrodes precision aligned in a flexible head...

Traditional electroencephalography (EEG) is time-consuming to set up, must be administered by qualified technologists and relies on reusable electrodes which can leave patients vulnerable to infection. Massachusetts-based HydroDot is aiming to solve these issues and significantly improve the clinical process with StatNet – a flexible, single-use EEG headpiece that offers a simpler, safer, faster and more accurate way to measure electrical activity in the human brain.  Read More

SHELTER device traps and removes blood clots in the brain  Credit: Zina Deretsky, NSF

By the time you finish reading this, two people in the U.S. will have suffered a stroke, or brain attack. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and claimed over 130,000 lives last year. Of those who survive, hundreds are left debilitated every day. Ischemic strokes, a blood clot or break in blood vessels in the brain, are responsible for 80% of all strokes. Fast treatment is critical; more than a million brain cells die each minute after onset of a symptoms, and the risk of brain damage increases rapidly if the clot is not removed within three hours. A new device, SHELTER, offers hope of extending the time a patient can get help. It filters and removes clots and can be custom-fit for the specific length and diameter of a patient's clot.  Read More

Researchers at the University of York in the U.K. have transformed the polyvinyl-alcohol (...

Who would have thought television could be good for you? Researchers at the University of York in the U.K. have transformed a chemical compound found in LCD television sets into an anti-microbial substance that destroys infections such as Escherichia coli and some strains of Staphylococcus aureus. The treated polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) could potentially also be used in tissue scaffolds to help parts of the body regenerate, pills and dressings that deliver drugs, and hospital cleaning products to prevent infection.  Read More

Implantable electrocardiogram (EKG) devices that constantly monitor and provide feedback o...

Once the realm of science fiction, implantable devices able to take on the work of the heart - pacemakers - are now commonplace, but what might the future hold for equipment that monitors our vital signs? A Finnish researcher believes tomorrow's tech-savvy generation will be more than comfortable with implantable electrocardiogram (EKG) devices that constantly monitor and provide instant feedback on their health, and can also provide instant access to medical data in emergencies.  Read More

Virtually silent, fully enclosed, bladeless wind turbines on the way

A wind turbine that uses boundary layers instead of blades to generate power has been patented by Solar Aero, a New Hampshire based not-for-profit scientific research organization. Modeled on the 1913 Tesla steam turbine, the Fuller turbine is virtually silent and completely enclosed, which avoids many of the drawbacks of bladed turbines such as noise, radar interference, visual pollution and wildlife injuries.  Read More

Robots plant a tiny seed into each circular plot on the tray - just one of the automated f...

H1N1, SARS and other pandemics, increasing antibiotic resistance to infectious diseases and even threats of biological warfare have reinforced the need for safe, effective and inexpensive mass vaccination programs. The answer may lie in nature, with plant-based vaccines. While traditional methods of vaccine production typically take months, the Fraunhofer Centers in the U.S., Boston University and iBio have developed a fully automated, scalable plant "factory" that can produce large quantities of vaccines within weeks.  Read More

Researchers have found a way to make leafy greens even healthier by exposing them to short...

We all know we should eat our greens because they're good for us. Lithuanian researchers have found a way to make them even healthier by exposing them to short-term light treatment with a solid-state illuminator, reducing harmful nitrate concentration by 44% - 65% and boosting nutritional value.  Read More

PUMA is getting rid of shoeboxes and replacing them with its Clever Little Bag, a single f...

Shoeboxes account for millions of tonnes of waste and sadly, looking at my shoe racks, I've probably made a substantial contribution to that. PUMA on the other hand is on a mission to reduce its carbon, energy, water and waste "paw print", and has decided to do away with the shoebox altogether. It has launched its Clever Little Bag, a single folded sheet of cardboard in a resuable, recyclable PET bag, designed to protect shoes from the time they leave the factory until the customer gets them home.  Read More

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