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While blood tests are used to rule out other forms of arthritis, the diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) generally relies on physical symptoms, with X-rays or MRI scans used for conformation if required. But researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have identified a biomarker for OA that could lead to a blood test that could diagnose it, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), years before physical symptoms present themselves. Read More
Point-of-care medical diagnostics technologies offer a fast and cheap way to help patients as they require no experienced personnel or expensive laboratory tests. Several innovations such as a DNA test chip and a biosensor that can detect viruses give us an idea of the possibilities in this field. Now a research team at the University of Rhode Island in the US has developed a paper-based platform that's claimed can perform complex diagnostics. Read More
In lieu of an effective medical test, physicians rely on assessments of behavioural patterns and social skills to diagnose autism. But new research suggests that this process needn't be so prolonged and intrusive. A team of scientists has identified biomarkers in the saliva of children with the condition, potentially paving the way for earlier, and more reliable, diagnoses. Read More
Nobody likes having blood samples drawn. What's more, such samples typically have to be analyzed in a lab before they're able to tell us anything. Now, however, scientists at the University of Cincinnati and the US Air Force Research Laboratory are developing a system in which a Band-Aid-like skin patch is able to gather and transmit medical data in almost real time, by analyzing the patient's sweat ... and you just need a smartphone to read it, no poking or prodding required. Read More
A new ultra-sensitive test developed by scientists from the Imperial College London and Spain’s University of Vigo has the potential to detect the earliest stages of a disease, thereby giving any treatment the best possible chance of succeeding. The researchers claim their new biosensor test is capable of detecting biomarkers (molecules which indicate the presence of a disease) at concentration levels much lower than is possible with existing biosensors. While the new test has already proven capable of detecting a biomarker associated with prostate cancer, the team says their biosensor could be easily reconfigured to detect biomarkers related to other diseases or viruses. Read More
Roughly two and a half million Americans suffer a heart attack or a stroke each year. About 20% of these - half a million people - die in the aftermath. The proximate cause for both heart attack and stroke is a blood clot in the wrong place - a blood clot that could be prevented or minimized by anti-clot therapy IF physicians knew that an attack or stroke was expected shortly. New findings from a research study led by Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) has identified a new blood test which has the promise of predicting heart attack or stroke weeks prior to their occurrence. Read More
Throughout the world, reactive paper-based systems are used to test peoples’ blood, urine and other bodily fluids for biomarkers that indicate everything from diabetes to pregnancy. Such systems are also used to detect pollution in water. However, for many of these tests to be accurate, an exact amount of time must pass between the application of the fluid and the viewing of the paper – if the paper is observed any earlier or later, the perceived results could be inaccurate. People typically use stopwatches to avoid this problem, but not everyone in the world has access to such devices, so scientists from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) have developed a simple timer that can be built into the paper itself. Read More
Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) cost upwards of US$2 trillion globally every year and affect one in four people in their lifetime. At present, diagnosing these conditions relies on an often unreliable process of questions and interviews, which means it can take many years for sufferers to be correctly diagnosed. A new diagnostic technique that measures the patterns of electrical activity in the brain’s vestibular (or balance) system could dramatically fast-track the detection of mental and neurological illnesses. Read More
Because the signature biomarkers that indicate the presence of cancer at the cellular level are generally present only at low levels in biological samples, detecting them is a procedure that usually takes days and involves a room filled with computers. Now researchers have used nanomaterials to develop a microchip small enough to fit in a device the size of a mobile phone, and sensitive enough to do the job in 30 minutes. Read More