Though sufferers of heart attacks may survive the initial event, they cause permanent damage to the organ in the form of scar tissue, which affects its ability to pump blood. Scientists around the world are working on this problem, with hydrogels, human stem cells and even bioengineered tissue that sticks together like Velcro all offering possible solutions. But the latest promising advance comes from a team of researchers that has developed a simple protein patch that restores animal hearts almost to normal function.
September 20, 2015
Our bodies have developed a particularly unforgiving immune response when a threat is posed to our lungs. This is great for warding off infections and illness, though is something of a double-edged sword regarding transplants, with the recipient's body often perceiving the incoming organ as a threat and seeking to destroy it. But a new approach promises to boost the success rate of such procedures, by both repairing unhealthy donor lungs that wouldn't otherwise make the grade and reducing the chances of rejection once it is implanted.
A mechanical hand utilizing DARPA-developed neural technologies has
become the first to allow a paralyzed patient to feel physical
sensations through a prosthesis. The 28 year-old test subject was able
to determine which mechanical finger was being touched whilst
blindfolded, with total accuracy.
We've previously heard about wound dressings that kill bacteria,
but now researchers at Australia's Swinburne University of Technology are
taking a different approach. They're creating a dressing material that
attracts bacteria out from within the wound, so that the material and
the microbes can then just be pulled off and discarded.
Working with a team of UCLA scientists, a man with protracted and complete paralysis has recovered sufficient voluntary control to take charge of a bionic exoskeleton and take many thousands of steps. Using a non-invasive spinal stimulation system that requires no surgery, this is claimed to be the first time that a person with such a comprehensive disability has been able to actively and voluntarily walk with such a device.
We've already heard about an electronics-packing mouthguard that can be used to detect serious impacts to the head.
Now, scientists at the University of California, San Diego have
developed one that could provide continuous readings of users' health
markers including lactate, cortisol and uric acid. It may be used to
monitor the well-being of people such as diabetics, to track the
performance of athletes, or to detect stress in soldiers.
A new system for growing heart tissue in the lab may make future heart, liver, and lung repair much easier. University of Toronto scientists have developed asymmetrical honeycomb-shaped 2D meshes of protein scaffolding that stick together like Velcro and imitate the environments in which tissue and muscle cells grow in the body.
A robot-assisted system developed at the University of Twente promises
to make medical procedures that use needles more precise. The system
allows flexible needles to be steered in real time to their target,
which negates issues with tissue and organs deforming from the contact
pressure or from any unforeseen obstacles that lie between the needle
and its target.
If someone is wheezing, it usually means that they have a respiratory problem. Soon, however, a wheeze-analyzing wearable device may allow doctors to know what sort of respiratory problem a patient has – and how serious it is.