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— Medical

Scientists turn blood into nerve cells in pursuit of better pain relief

By - May 26, 2015

As it stands, there's not a whole lot we know about pain. Where a tissue or blood sample can be drawn and studied, our nervous system comprising different kinds of cells running signals through complex piping around the body presents a difficult task for scientific research. But a new study details a technique that turns blood cells into different nerve cells, promising to improve our understanding of why things itch or burn. By extension, it is hoped that it could lead to new forms of pain relief that do away with unwanted side effects such as sleepiness or loss of concentration.

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Newly identified protein may hold key to preventing diabetes-induced blindness

By - May 25, 2015

Diabetic retinopathy is one of a number of nasty effects diabetes can have on the human body. The disease sees the development of leaky blood vessels in the eye that over time lead to permanent loss of vision. Though it is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in American adults, its progress can be slowed by certain drugs or laser treatment. But research has now uncovered a new protein found to drive the condition, raising the possibility of preventing it altogether.

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— Medical

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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— Medical

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

By - May 7, 2015

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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— Medical

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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