Keeping track of white blood cell levels in chemotherapy patients is an involved but crucially important task. The treatment can lead to suppression of the immune system, a decline in white blood cell count, which in turn can give rise to infections and other serious complications. As things stand, patients are subjected to regular blood tests as a means of keeping an eye on things, but an international team of scientists has a less invasive alternative in the works. With the ability to tally up white blood cells through the skin in real time, the new testing device can simply be stuck onto a fingertip to help clinicians tailor personalized and more timely treatments.
Though materials have been developed that clot blood in order to slow bleeding, when the bleeding is internal things get a little more complicated. The flow of blood makes it difficult to deliver these agents upstream to the site of the injury, but now a team of Canadian researchers says it may have a solution. It has developed a micro-sized particle that produces gas to propel itself against the tide.
Researchers at Rice University have discovered that a protein found in whale meat may hold the key to developing synthetic blood. The protein, called myoglobin, allows marine mammals to remain submerged at great depths for up to two hours and has an ultra-stable structure that could one day allow for the manufacturing of a blood substitute using bacteria as biofactories.
Dizziness and severe shortage of breath is a pretty sure sign of overexertion, but sometimes you won't know you've pushed yourself too far until you're hunched over the park bench gasping for air. The stick-on Moxy Monitor is designed to give athletes a window into how their body is performing during a workout, by tracking blood oxygen levels in their muscles in real time and displaying this along with other fitness data in third party apps and devices.
When blood clots form in the aftermath of a heart attack or stroke, medications can be deployed to break them apart, but delivery is tricky. Getting the medicine to the clot takes some guesswork and there's no guarantee it will arrive in the right dosage, with complications like hemorrhaging a real possibility. A team of Australian scientists has developed a new approach that sees the drugs carried safely inside a nanocapsule, opening up the treatment to more patients and lessening the chance of side effects.
Nicotine replacement therapy, such as pills, gum and patches, can make the road to quitting smoking a little less rocky, but these aren't always effective and a tremendous amount of discipline still plays the major role. A team of US-based researchers has now uncovered an enzyme found in nature they say could greatly improve on the effectiveness of smoking cessation aids, by devouring nicotine in smokers before it can deliver its "reward" to the brain.
We’ve already heard about drones being used to deliver pharmaceuticals to patients in remote locations, but scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Uganda’s Makerere University are now looking at the other end of the picture – using them to deliver remotely-located patients’ blood samples to labs in larger centers. According to a proof-of-concept study conducted by the researchers, the little unmanned aircraft should be able to do the job just fine.
In order to monitor their blood glucose levels, diabetics typically have
to perform painful and inconvenient finger-prick blood tests – in some
cases, several times a day. Using an implantable glucose-monitoring sensor
is one alternative, although it must be surgically installed and
subsequently removed for replacement. Another option may be on the way,
however, in the form of a device that simply shines a laser on the
A new test developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) can test for both past and current infections by analyzing a single drop of patient blood. The researchers consider the method superior to existing techniques, which only search for a single virus at a time.
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.