People suffering from cataracts aren't exactly flush with options when it comes to restoring their vision. As they grow over time, they start to impede the ability to perform everyday tasks like reading and driving, prompting surgical removal either by scalpel or laser. But new research suggests a less invasive solution might be on the way in the form of a naturally-occurring molecule that can be administered through a simple eye drop.
You might remember the Argus II implant from when it first gained market approval in the US back in 2013. The ambitious prosthesis is back, with researchers now looking to utilize the technology to treat patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The effort forms part of a feasibility study, and early results are positive.
The ability of mussels to stubbornly bind themselves to underwater surfaces has intrigued scientists for years. If this ability could be recreated in the lab, it could lead to new adhesives for all kinds of applications. A team of Korean scientists has now developed a surgical glue inspired by these natural wonders that's claimed to be cheaper, more reliable and incur less scarring than existing solutions.
As with every form of the deadly disease, early detection of oesophageal cancer is critical to recovery. The current approach of detecting the cancer through biopsy can be a little hit and miss, so the University of Cambridge's Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and her team have developed what they claim to be a more accurate tool for early-diagnosis. Billed as "a pill on a string," the Cytosponge is designed to scrape off cells from the length of the oesophagus as it is yanked out after swallowing, offering up a much larger sample for inspection of cancer cells.
Respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma are extremely prevalent, with more than 35 million sufferers in the US alone. Now, a team from the Weizmann Institute of Science has worked to create a new treatment for repairing damaged lung tissue, using the procedure for bone marrow stem cell transplantation as a template.
In order to monitor their blood glucose levels, diabetics typically have
to perform painful and inconvenient finger-prick blood tests – in some
cases, several times a day. Using an implantable glucose-monitoring sensor
is one alternative, although it must be surgically installed and
subsequently removed for replacement. Another option may be on the way,
however, in the form of a device that simply shines a laser on the
The field of optogenetics where individual brains cells are made to behave differently when exposed to light has wide-ranging potential. It may one day be used to reverse acquired blindness, alter pain thresholds and even hit the rest button on our biological clocks. With one eye on this emerging area of neuroscience, scientists have developed a device the width of a human hair that can be planted in the brain to deliver light or drugs only where needed, offering better targeted treatments and reduced side effects.
Building on previous work, researchers at Duke University have developed a new technology that wraps nanoshells in a thin film of drug-infused hydrogel, adding additional firepower to the already promising targeted cancer treatment. The hydrogel is loaded with cancer-fighting drugs and coated onto the nanoshells, which heat up when exposed to infrared light and release the chemotherapeutic drugs, delivering a one-two punch, directly to the tumour.
We have drugs to treat nasty conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease, but unfortunately their effects are often blunted by little stumbling blocks known as the stomach and the small intestine. These body parts are prone to absorbing certain medications before they can do their best work. But a new type of capsule holds onto its payload until reaching the large intestine, making for more effective delivery.
Scientists believe they can isolate the medical benefits of THC from the "unwanted side effects". By blocking a particular receptor, the cognitive effects of THC, including memory loss, anxiety and dependence can be suppressed, whist the analgesic and tumor-inhibiting properties remain.