Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching

In the 2012 film Prometheus, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw seals herself in a medical pod and undergoes a robotic surgical procedure to remove an alien growing in her abdomen. While people not involved in a sci-fi universe shouldn't ever need such a procedure, robotic surgery certainly has its benefits. Working with the body's soft tissue has proved difficult, however, because of how much it can squish and change during surgery. A new machine called the Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR) at Johns Hopkins University has overcome this obstacle and proven its ability by operating on pigs.Read More

Add-ons let iPhones perform anterior and retinal eye exams

Visual impairment and blindness is an extremely widespread issue that affects an estimated 285 million people across the globe, with nine of out of 10 cases occurring in developing regions. oDocs Eye Care is hoping to put a dent in those numbers, producing low-cost, portable eye examination accessories designed to harness the power of the iPhone.Read More

Robot-driven CT scanner can image standing, conscious horses

Traditional CT scanners require the patient to lay down and stay perfectly still in a narrow tube within an imposing-looking machine. It's a daunting experience, and while it's workable for human patients, it's not well suited to large animals like horses. A project taking place at the University of Pennsylvania is looking to completely change how we go about performing the scans in such cases, using two robotic arms that move around the horse while it's upright and conscious.Read More

Breathe easy: Over-the-phone lung monitoring is just a 1-800 call away

Back in 2012, researchers from the University of Washington (UW) introduced a new tool for those suffering from respiratory problems in the form of a smartphone app that measures lung health. While this may have improved access to care for many, it didn't mean a great deal to those without a smartphone. The team is now looking to expand the reach of its technology by designing a system that allows patients to call in from anywhere in the world, from any phone, to gauge the health of their lungs.Read More

Diagnostic blood test shows promise in early detection of Parkinson's

Early detection of Parkinson's could help doctors decide on treatment options or improve disease management. But often people get a neurological examination after symptoms appear, when vital brain cells have already been destroyed. Now a game-changing blood test is being developed to give doctors a reliable method to detect the disease earlier through clinical biomarkers.Read More

Prematurely born lambs kept alive in artificial external placenta – human babies could be next

When babies are born extremely premature – before 24 weeks of development in the womb – their lungs aren't strong enough to provide their organs with oxygen they need to develop properly. Nor are they strong enough to handle artificial ventilation. The result can mean a brief life for these tiniest of babies. A new artificial placenta that mimics conditions in the womb being developed by researchers at the University of Michigan might provide new hope.Read More

Screening existing drugs to uncover new weapons against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotics represent one of the biggest threats to global health today, and one particular type, known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), was recently classified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having the most urgent antimicrobial resistance threat level possible. Help might just be at hand though, with researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) using a screening method to identify existing drugs that might well prove effective against the dangerous bacteria.Read More

Discovery points to a reason for neuron death in stroke victims

It's well known that conditions such as schizophrenia, as well as strokes, seizures and traumatic brain injuries cause increased acidity around neurons in the brain, but scientists have struggled to understand exactly why this occurs. Now, researchers from the University at Buffalo may have pinpointed the reason, finding that an elusive receptor might play a big role.Read More

Portable device detects Ebola on the spot

It would definitely be an understatement to say that the sooner the Ebola virus is detected in blood samples, the better. Unfortunately, those samples currently have to be shipped off to labs for analysis, often far from the area being studied. That could soon change, though, as a compact new device can identify Ebola in under half an hour.Read More


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