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A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible nanotube-semiconductor nanocrystal film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application. Read More
Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose. Read More
Researchers are zeroing in on what looks like an effective treatment for the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Teams from UC Riverside and New York's Rockefeller University have both used the same compound, indazole chloride, to successfully reverse the progression of MS in mice. The drug appears to be able to stimulate the regeneration of the myelin sheath – the nerve pathway coating that is progressively destroyed as MS attacks the nervous system. Read More
The more successful ways of reducing chronic pain such as that arising from bone cancer and chemotherapy rely on blocking certain brain pathways, but these aren't without their of side effects. Scientists at St Louis University have discovered that the pathway A3AR could be the key to mitigating pain without some of the unwanted baggage, potentially pointing to new methods of therapeutic treatment. Read More
It can be a laborious business, teaching people such as victims of strokes or brain injuries to walk again. Often, multiple physiotherapists are required to hold patients up while they walk on a treadmill, while also manually moving their legs to achieve the proper gait. Soon, however, a robotic walker developed at the National University of Singapore could make the process considerably easier. Read More
In recent years, research has linked sleep problems to Alzheimer’s disease. This relationship involves a neurotransmitter called orexin that awakens the brain from sleep and has shown to be heightened in moderate to severe sufferers of Alzheimer’s. New research conducted at Washington University in St Louis suggests that removing the orexin protein in mice enables them to sleep longer, which could serve to hinder development of the disease. Read More
When a bone is severely broken in the human body, or a bone-fused prosthesis is implanted, a bone graft is also often required to ensure a solid mechanical repair. However, a graft that removes bone from another area of the body can be a painful and invasive procedure, and the mechanical stimulation required for continued bone regeneration in post-operative therapy becomes problematic if a patient is severely immobilized. To address these problems, researchers have discovered that coating magnetic nanoparticles with proteins and then directing them magnetically to the site of the injury can help stimulate stem cells to regenerate bone. Read More
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

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

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
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