Although peripheral devices now allow smartphones to serve as everything from weather stations to eye-examiners, it's typically thought that genuine purpose-built tools still perform best. In the case of stethoscopes, however, that may not be the case. Researchers with Florida-based Orlando Health recently determined that HeartBuds – a new stethoscope device/app – performed as well as traditional stethoscopes, and better than a commonly-used disposable model.
Bandages are important for stopping germs from entering a wound and making things worse, but could they play a more active role in making things better? New research has brought the idea of wound-healing dressings closer to reality by establishing a method of electrical stimulation that kills off the majority of multi-drug resistant bacterium commonly found in difficult-to-treat infections.
The blood-brain barrier is an almost impenetrable membrane that surrounds vessels in the brain and stops harmful particles from entering. The trouble is that it doesn't discriminate, at the same time making it very difficult for beneficial molecules like medication to pass through. But researchers have now non-invasively breached the barrier for the first time in a human subject, delivering chemotherapy drugs to a brain cancer patient with a high level of precision and paving the way for improved treatments and fewer side effects for sufferers of neurological disorders.
Being a surgeon is a pretty high-stress job, and relies heavily on surgical assistants for things like setting clamps and holding tools. Researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute are looking to lighten the load a little, by developing a metal hand that lets surgeons more directly control what's happening on the operating table.
Detecting cancer early is difficult enough at the best of times, but the problem is compounded in developing countries where patients don't always have access to advanced diagnostics equipment. A team of UK-based scientists has developed a new tool that could greatly assist those taking the fight to cancer in these regions. Billed as a lab-in-a-briefcase, the low-cost, portable diagnostics tool works similarly to a pregnancy test and can detect cancer biomarkers in as little as 15 minutes.
Combining cornstarch with volcanic ash clay to create a plastic for bone grafts could make the surgical process of bone replacement much simpler in the future. Researchers say the material could replace the need to remove bone from another part of a patient's body, or to use donor cadaver bones that are limited in supply.
Of the hundreds of million people around the world that suffer from diabetes, a sizeable portion need to subject themselves to daily insulin injections. But a more palatable way of keeping blood glucose levels in check may be on the way, with scientists developing a patch that attaches to the intestinal wall and releases the hormone after being swallowed in the form of a capsule.
Major, uncontrolled blood loss can have major ramifications everywhere from the battlefield to the operating theatre. While blood-clotting medications can be used to stem the flow, often their purpose is thwarted by conflicting anti-coagulating drugs that thin the blood instead. But now scientists have developed a promising new hydrogel infused with snake venom that is drawn to the wound and shuts down bleeding in a matter of seconds.
A team from the John Innes Center in the UK has developed a method for producing large quantities of beneficial compounds by growing them in tomatoes. Given how high yielding the fruit is, it could be used to produce the substances on an industrial scale.
A team of researchers has successfully used ultrasound waves to speed up drug delivery to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The study was conducted by researchers from MIT and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the resulting technique could significantly improve improve treatment for inflammatory GI diseases.