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Medical

Spongy polymer grows to fill gaps in the spine after surgery

Removing spinal tumors can be problematic, with the current options for bridging the gap left by the procedure being either very expensive, or extremely invasive. New research could provide a better solution, with the potential to use an expanding polymer implant to fill the gaps after surgery.Read More

​New cataracts treatment restores infants' vision using stem cells

While you might generally associate cataracts with more mature patients, as many as three in every 10,000 children suffer from the condition, which can cause significant vision loss. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) have tested a new approach to tackling congenital cataracts, turning to existing stem cells to repair the patient lenses post-surgery, restoring vision.
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Brown cell-booster flicks the fat switch

That the human body contains good fat and bad fats has been known to scientists for some time, but mechanisms that allow us to can convert one into the other have been a little harder to come by. In search of such a trigger, scientists have uncovered a switch in the fat cells of mice that helps them shed the extra pounds. The good news? That very same switch is present in humans. Read More

Fresh approach to "organ-on-a-chip" tech adds a third dimension, may eventually replace test animals

Finding a workable alternative to animal testing is one of the most important efforts currently under way in the medical world. Not only is the method not all that effective, with numerous drugs that look promising when testing on rodents falling short during subsequent clinical trials, but it's also considered to be unethical by many people. Now, researchers at the University of Toronto have made a breakthrough, creating a new platform called AngioChip, which provides a complex, three dimensional structure on which tissue can be grown that mimics functions of the human body.Read More

Lab-grown eye tissue restores rabbits' vision

In what marks important progress toward a future where defective vision could be treated with lab-grown eyeball components, an international team of scientists has used human stem cells to build layers of eye tissue that was then implanted into rabbits to restore vision. With promising early results, the researchers say their findings could usher in trials where such transplantations are put to the test in humans.Read More

Lack of stem cells in womb found to be culprit behind recurrent miscarriages

Recurrent miscarriage is defined as having three or more miscarriages in succession and is a heartbreaking event that affects one in 100 women trying to conceive. Scientists are now claiming to have identified a cause, finding a lack of stem cells in the womb lining to be the culprit behind continued failed pregnancies, and aims to begin developing treatments to bolster populations of these cells later in the year.Read More

Highly sensitive Sneezometer picks up early signs of asthma

Devices that measure lung capacity and fluctuations in airflow (called spirometers), are a common tool for picking up on symptoms of asthma and other respiratory conditions. But using one typically involves repeated deep breaths and the devices themselves aren't so portable, restricting where and when they can be used. Researchers have now 3D printed a spirometer that is not only more mobile, but is claimed to be much more sensitive than available devices with the ability to detect variations in airflow from a single sneeze. Read More

Growth of functional breast tissue spawns a new weapon in cancer research

Current approaches to breast cancer research have their limitations when it comes to observing its behavior in live human tissue. There is something to be gained by studying cells in mice and the lab, but these methods still don't paint a complete picture. Researchers have now built a hydrogel scaffold that mimics the environment found within the human breast, allowing them to grow real mammary tissue and gain new insights into how tumors spread through this part of the body.Read More

Slimline asthma inhaler slides right into your wallet

For sufferers of asthma, going out without an inhaler in-tow is risk not worth taking, but these clunky devices don't lend themselves too well to life inside jean pockets. So one startup has set out to make a much more portable version, developing a slimline asthma inhaler that can be stored inside a wallet.Read More

Molecule-blocking drug opens new path to pain relief

New research has shown success at blocking specific molecules involved in maintaining pain following a nerve injury, significantly lowering patient discomfort. The tests were successful in laboratory mice, indicating that it might prove effective in human tests, and the method is simple and easy for doctors to perform.Read More

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