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Medical

Illustrations of a human heart doing the left ventricular twist (left), and the Harvard mo...

When you think of a beating heart, you probably just picture it flexing in and out, sort of like a rubber ball being squeezed by an invisible hand. In fact, though, its motion is more similar to that of a dish rag being wrung out, with the top of the organ twisting in a clockwise direction while the bottom contracts counterclockwise. It's known as the left ventricular twist, and scientists have now replicated it using artificial muscles. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things.  Read More

A beating rabbit's heart, fitted with one of the membranes (Photo: Igor Efimov)

When it comes to monitoring the electrical activity of the heart, or delivering electrical stimulation to it (as in the case of pacemakers), most current technologies rely on electrodes that make contact with the organ in just a few locations. That doesn't necessarily provide a very detailed picture of what's going on, nor does it deliver stimulation all that evenly. Now, scientists have created a sensor-laden three-dimensional elastic membrane that can be pulled over the whole heart, to provide a large number of contact points.  Read More

Researchers from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology have deleoped an augmented rea...

Studies have shown that a large percentage of amputees feel pain in their missing limbs. This condition, known as phantom limb pain (PLP), is caused by the part of brain responsible for a limb's movement becoming idle once that limb is lost. The ailment has so far proven difficult to treat, but a new study suggests therapy involving augmented reality and gaming could stimulate these unused areas of the brain, resulting in a significant reduction in discomfort.  Read More

Built in three pieces using a flexible filament, the 3D-printed heart reportedly took arou...

3D printing technology has assisted in life-saving heart surgery performed on a 14-month old child, with engineers at the University of Louisville producing a printed model of the child's heart prior to the procedure that enabled doctors to better prepare for the operation.  Read More

Electrical contacts located in the fingertips deliver short electrical pulses, stimulating...

While we can counter the deterioration of sight and hearing with glasses and hearing aids, few tools exist for combating a degenerating sense of touch. A common ailment among stroke patients and the aging, treating diminishing tactile perception has proven a complicated task. Looking to provide a wearable solution unimposing enough for everyday use, a research team from Germany's Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) is developing a stimulation glove designed to be worn passively to alleviate such impairments.  Read More

The optical device uses a laser to determine how quickly a person's blood will clot  (Imag...

Not everyone's blood clots at the same rate. While that might seem like simply an interesting bit of trivia, it's anything but trivial to doctors performing operations or emergency procedures, who need to know what might be required in the way of transfusions or anticoagulant drugs. Now, an optical device can provide them with that information within minutes.  Read More

The business end of the probe, built around a single disc-like chip

Imagine if you were trying to clear rubble out of a tunnel, but you could only see that tunnel from the side, instead of looking straight into it. Well, that's currently what it's like for doctors who are trying to see inside patients' blocked coronary blood vessels using ultrasound. Soon, however, a tiny catheter-based probe may give them a 3D real-time forward view from inside those vessels – or from inside the heart itself – not unlike that seen by the microscopic submarine crew in the movie Fantastic Voyage.  Read More

Researchers have shown that that exposure to one color of light can increase pain sensitiv...

In research that could lead to improved treatment of chronic and debilitating pain conditions, scientists at Stanford Bio-X have shown that pain sensitivity in genetically modified mice can be altered by shining different colors of light on their paws.  Read More

Scientists at Boston University are trialling a bionic pancreas

For people living with type 1 diabetes, a constant process of monitoring and adjusting blood sugar levels is required. A change may be on the horizon, though. A bionic pancreas trialled among 30 adults has been very well-received by the participants, and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for three transitional outpatient studies over the next 18 months.  Read More

New technology could allow vaccines to be produced when and where they're needed (Photo: S...

Researchers from the University of Washington have created a vaccine with the potential to make on-demand vaccination cheaper and quicker, using engineered nanoparticles. Tests with mice show definite promise for the technology's use on humans.  Read More

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