Bruxism – or "tooth-grinding" to most of us – is a very common problem.
Often caused by stress, it can cause tooth damage, headaches, insomnia
and jaw pain. Unfortunately, because it occurs when we're sleeping, many
people don't even realize they're doing it. Often, a night spent under
observation at a sleep clinic is the only way of "catching it in
action." That could be about to change, however, thanks to the
development of a bruxism-detecting mouth guard.
A team of researchers from the Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM) has conducted a study involving the use of communications modules secreted by stem cells to help limit the damage caused by a heart attack. The team performed tests on mice, with extremely promising results.
Today's smartphones come chock-full of technological capability, intended to help us with everything from taking holiday snaps, finding our way around a new town or staying connected with people around the world. As it turns out, the hardware inside is starting to show huge promise in the world of medical diagnostics, with smartphones repurposed as blood-scanning microscopes, HIV testers and sleep apnea detectors. The latest advance in this area comes in the form of a fiber optic sensor for smartphones that monitors bodily fluids, a tool that could be used for biomolecular tests such as pregnancy or diabetes monitoring.
Hydrogels have huge potential in the field of biomedicine, but aren't without their shortcomings in their existing form. These tiny polypeptide chains are championed for their many possible applications. Indeed, in the last few years alone we've seen advances that suggest they could find use in generating new heart tissue, fighting off superbugs and the controlled release of anti-inflammatory drugs. But researchers have now developed a hydrogel that mimics the elasticity of human tissue and can be activated by exposure to light, claiming it could offer safer means of repairing wounded tissue.
In order to treat injured joints, patients are often advised to apply
heat. This typically takes the form of a hot water bottle or
microwavable hot pack (which are cumbersome and cool off) or a heating
pad (which needs to be plugged in). Now, however, scientists from Korea
and the US have created a battery-powered thin mesh that applies heat
and stays put.
When its levels are slightly off-kilter, eye fluid can create pretty big problems for our vision. When blockages occur they can lead to a build up in pressure that destroys the optic nerve and causes blindness, a condition we know as glaucoma. In contrast, a lack of fluid can cause the eye to cave in and stop functioning, a disease known as phthisis bulbi. Currently, little can be done about these irreversible conditions once they take hold, but Fraunhofer researchers have a potential solution in the works by way of a microscopic pump that can be implanted in the eyeball to regulate ocular pressure.
Future cancer treatments may target your genes rather than the cancerous cells themselves. A new study found that reactivating a single gene was enough to stop and reverse colorectal cancer (that's cancer of the colon, or bowels) in mice, with a return to normal intestinal functions within just four days and tumors gone within two weeks. The concept, though not the specific method, could lead to new treatments of a variety of cancers.
Nanorobots hold great potential in the field of medicine. This is
largely due to the possibility of highly-targeted delivery of medical
payloads, an outcome that could lessen side effects and negate the need
for invasive procedures. But how these microscopic particles can best
navigate the body's fluids is a huge area of focus for scientists.
Researchers are now reporting a new technique whereby nanorobots are
made to swim swiftly through the fluids like blood to reach their
The destruction of the pancreatic cells that leads to type 1 diabetes arises when the body's own immune cells identify them as foreign targets and begin to attack them. But a new technique using tiny particles to mimic the form and function of the pancreatic cells is showing promise in halting the onset of the condition.