Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Medical

Artist's rendering of synthetic platelets that mimic, and outperform, natural platelets (I...

The skin is the body's first line of defense against infection. And when this barrier is broken, or an internal organ is ruptured, it is the process of coagulation, or clotting, which relies largely on blood cells called platelets, that seals the breach and stems the flow of blood. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have now synthesized nanoparticles that mimic the form and function of platelets, but can do more than just accelerate the body's natural healing processes.  Read More

An x-ray displaying BoneFinder-enhanced hip bones

Despite what cartoons may have us believe, x-rays don't always show bones as being sharply defined from the surrounding tissue. It's often difficult to tell where the one ends and the other begins, requiring clinicians to go through the images and manually draw in the outlines of bones. Now, however, free software known as BoneFinder is able to do so automatically.  Read More

The rHealth tool requires a single drop of blood and can diagnose ailments in minutes

For the last two years, the US$2.25 million Nokia Sensing X Challenge has lured entrants from around the globe to submit groundbreaking technologies that improve access to health care. A panel of experts have awarded this year's grand prize to Massachusetts-based DNA Medical Institute (DMI), whose hand-held device is capable of diagnosing ailments in minutes, using only a single drop of blood.  Read More

The activity of the SRPK1 molecule was found to be higher in cancerous (right) than benign...

In the spread of prostate cancer, one particular molecule is critical. Called SRPK1, it enables a tumor to generate new blood vessels and start to grow. Research conducted at the University of Bristol shows that a specific compound can thwart its activity, potentially leading to new forms of treatment for the disease.  Read More

A genetically-inherited microbe naturally found in the gut that is more common in thin peo...

A new study has determined that not only are bacteria naturally found in the gut involved in obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, but they are genetically inherited. Researchers at King's College London and Cornell University identified a highly-heritable bacterial family that is more common in individuals with low body weight and that could pave the way for genetics-based personalized probiotic therapies for obesity-related diseases.  Read More

This smart watch-like device is designed to assist the elderly with basic tasks like remem...

As our life spans increase, more services and care will be needed for the elderly, especially those who live independently. Technology clearly has an increasing role to play in improving home care and health monitoring. The latest developments from German research group Fraunhofer are a case in point.  Read More

EPFL researchers succeeded in recreating the feeling of a 'ghostly presence' in the labora...

Mountain climbers facing extreme climatic conditions, patients affected by schizophrenia or neurological disorders and athletes facing severe exhaustion have all reported experiencing feeling an invisible and yet persistent "presence" that is often felt just outside their field of view. Researchers at EPFL have now recreated the same sensations in perfectly healthy subjects, inducing ghostly hallucinations in a matter of minutes.  Read More

A new prototype device determines whether a prostate tissue sample is benign or malignant ...

European research organization Fraunhofer is set to present a prototype device for quickly diagnosing prostate cancer at the COMPAMED trade fair in Düsseldorf next week. Its creators claim that it can reliably determine whether changed tissue in the prostate is benign or malignant within just a minute-and-a-half, thanks to an on-board visual analysis of a sample gathered via biopsy.  Read More

Clinical trials are set to begin in 2015 on the potential of a common blood pressure drug ...

A study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has shown that verapamil, a drug widely used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and migraine headaches, is able to completely reverse diabetes in animal models. The UAB team will now move onto clinical trials to see if the same results are repeated in humans.  Read More

A US$270 programmable, 3D-printed electromyographic prosthetic hand may soon change the li...

A PhD candidate and six undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UCIC) have created a low-cost, programmable, 3D-printed prosthetic hand that may soon change the lives of amputees in Ecuador. The hand costs just US$270 to manufacture, making it a small fraction of the cost of a typical prosthetic of this type.  Read More

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