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Health & Wellbeing

Potential new drug delivery system

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have developed a biological mechanism that can act as an entirely new means of drug delivery, carrying with it the potential to make treating illness even more effective. Rather than simply circulating in the bloodstream, the laboratory-developed peptide can deliver nanoparticles directly into tissue. Read More

Possible cure for peanut allergy discovered: peanuts

Peanut allergies are very common - something like one in every 200 children will suffer from some sort of reaction, and while roughly 100 people per year die as a result, peanuts are still thought to be the most prevalent food-related cause of death. Certainly, for those afflicted, it's a huge annoyance to be constantly checking labels and asking at restaurants just to make sure. So it's good to hear that Duke University researchers are making progress on a cure - or at least a therapy for reducing the effects of peanut exposure.Read More

Getting Parkinson's patients to speak up

The sad reality of Parkinson’s disease is that it indiscriminately affects 1.5 million people in the U.S alone, making it one of the most common degenerative neurological conditions with no known cause or cure. In the effort to make one of Parkinson’s many debilitating symptoms more manageable for sufferers, researchers have developed a new technology to overcome voice and speech impairment by playing a recording of ambient sound resembling the chatter of a busy restaurant.Read More

Drink a smoothie to treat your diabetes

A yogurt-based treatment for diabetes that uses non-harmful bacteria is being tested on diabetic mice. Gut microbes that have been engineered to make a specific protein are helping regulate blood sugar in the rodents, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society conference in Washington, D.C. Scientists hope the treatment might one day provide an alternative for people with diabetes.Read More

The wearable kidney

A fashion statement it may not be, but the Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK) could prove a very smart accessory for those with serious kidney disease. A miniaturized dialysis machine that can be worn as a belt, the WAK concept allows patients with end stage renal failure the freedom to engage in daily activity while undergoing uninterrupted dialysis treatment. Read More

Digital drink tampering detector

One of the dangers of drinking in unfamiliar territory can be the quality of liquor on offer. Rotgut, the slang term for an inferior alcoholic concoction, can be dangerous to your health, not just your wallet. How big an issue being served rotgut actually is seems to depend as much on where in the world you find yourself as which nightclub or party you're at. Rotgutonix is a new take-anywhere prototype device that analyzes your chosen beverage and lets you know if it's genuine or a nasty pretender.Read More

Wireless pacemaker talks to cardiac specialist via Internet

The world’s very first fully implanted pacemaker, in 1958, lasted three hours before the batteries failed. It was replaced by one that lasted two days. Ultimately, Arne Larsson – surgical guinea pig – went on to receive 26 different pacemakers over the next 43 years. Now, a New York woman has become the first person in the world to receive a pacemaker that allows completely wireless monitoring, transmitting clinical data to her doctor each day via the Internet. And, if anything ever goes wrong, the doctor is alerted instantly. Read More

BrainPort for the visually impaired - ‘seeing’ with the tongue

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one million Americans over the age of 40 are legally blind - defined by U.S. law as vision that is 20/200 or worse, or have a field of view that is less than 20 degrees in diameter. It is estimated that adult vision loss costs the country about $51.4 billion per year. A new device aims to help restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by using nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain.Read More

AIDS-preventing gel to protect women in resource-poor areas

The statistics paint a grim picture - an estimated 2.0 million people, including 270,000 children, died of AIDS in 2007 and at that time 33 million people around the globe were living with HIV, two thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. New advancements in microbicides may help to improve this horrific scenario with U.S. researchers undertaking trials for a specially designed ‘molecular condom’ to prevent the spread of HIV in women. Read More

Human trials to begin on genetically-engineered malaria vaccine

There were 247 million cases of malaria and 881,000 deaths worldwide from the disease in 2006, making it one of the world’s most common infectious diseases and an enormous public health problem, particularly in poverty stricken areas. We’ve previously looked at various proposals to fight the disease, from targeting the mosquitoes that spread it, to research into a possible vaccine. Now researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, working in collaboration with researchers from the US, Japan and Canada, have renewed hopes by creating a weakened strain of the malaria parasite that will be used as a live vaccine against the disease. Human trials will begin in 2010.Read More

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