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Organic ion transistor blocks pain signals from reaching the brain

By - May 11, 2015 2 Pictures

A new type of medical device could one day put the minds of chronic pain sufferers at ease by distributing the body's own natural pain relief signals at just the right time. Developed at Linköping University in Sweden, the tiny "ion pump" is made from organic electronics and could be implanted in patients, serving to cut off pain signals in the spinal chord before they make their way to the brain.

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Cardiac events could be diagnosed using a "heart attack thermometer"

By - May 7, 2015 1 Picture

In order to confirm that a patient presenting with a heart attack has in fact had one, doctors typically use bulky, expensive lab equipment ... which isn't always available to clinicians in developing nations or rural locations. That's why scientists from Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology have created a simple thermometer-like device that reportedly does the job.

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Smartphone microscope scans blood for parasitic worms in minutes

By - May 7, 2015 3 Pictures

In Africa, the spread of parasitic worms known as Loa loa is seriously hindering the efforts of health care workers to cure particular rampant diseases. Though there are drugs available to treat both river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, if they are administered to a patient who also happens to also be infected with Loa loa the consequences can be lethal. This is complicated further by the inherent difficulties in screening for the worms, but a newly developed mobile phone microscope needing only a drop of blood to automatically detect the parasite promises to make things a whole lot simpler.

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Self-moistening chest strap could be used for multi-day ECGs

By - May 6, 2015 1 Picture
In order to conduct electrical signals from the skin, the electrodes on heart rate monitors need to be slightly moist. That's why gel is first applied to patients' skin. Unfortunately, that gel dries up within 24 hours. Now, however, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research institute are developing a solution – a self-moistening heart rate-monitoring chest strap, for use in situations where electrocardiograms (ECGs) need to be recorded over a period of several days.

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Loading cancer vaccines into silicon microparticles could stop tumors in their tracks

By - May 6, 2015 1 Picture

A key battleground in the fight against cancer has been the development of vaccines to stop tumors taking hold. These are intended to kick the body's own immune system into action to fend off the cancerous cells, with immunotherapy drugs for melanomas, prostate and lung cancer all emerging in recent years. But one hurdle oncologists are yet to tackle with any great success is a vaccine for breast cancer. New research now suggests this mightn't be all that far away, with the discovery that loading cancer antigens into silicon microparticles serves to greatly boost the immune response.

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Tiny cellular bubbles enable delivery of Parkinson's drugs straight to the brain

By - May 5, 2015 2 Pictures

A natural enzyme called catalase may prove hugely significant in treating neurological disorders such as Parkinson's. These extremely potent antioxidants can tackle neuron-killing inflammation with an effectiveness unparalleled by small molecule drugs. But there's a problem, they are big. So big that getting them through the blood-brain barrier for delivery straight to the brain is nearly impossible. But researchers have now discovered that loading them into tiny, naturally occurring bubbles allows them to sneak past the brain's defenses, pointing to the possibility of improved treatments for such conditions.

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Enzyme could make any type of donated blood safe for anyone to receive

By - May 1, 2015 1 Picture
When it comes to donated blood, type O is special. It can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type. By contrast, type A can only go to A or AB patients, and B can only go to B or AB patients. Additionally, type O patients can only receive O. Thanks to new research, however, it may soon be possible to give anyone whatever type of blood happens to be available, with no ill effects. Read More
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