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Blood

One of Fraunhofer's artificial venous valves

Chronic venous insufficiency - or CVI - is a very common medical condition in which veins in the legs cannot pump enough oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. It is caused by faulty valves within the leg veins, and causes blood to pool in the legs, which can lead to edemas and even open ulcers. Typically, treatment consists of anti-inflammatory drugs and diuretics, along with the use of items such as compression stockings. Now scientists have developed a method of mass-producing artificial venous valves, that could replace the malfunctioning natural ones.  Read More

University of Tennessee researchers have invented a device that instantly detects diseases...

Infectious diseases these days seem to have gotten a lot of attention, with media hype and threats of pandemics often being portrayed in apocalyptic sci-fi movies. We all know that several types of these diseases can spread rapidly, and it is crucial that doctors be able to identify them quickly in order to prevent an epidemic. Unfortunately, current testing methods can take hours and even days, delaying the process of adequate prevention. It should then ease your mind to hear that researchers at the University of Tennessee have invented a device that can rapidly detect these unwanted afflictions.  Read More

The MinION is the size of a USB memory stick, and obtains both power and computer analysis...

At the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology 2012 conference (AGBT), Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. announced it is entering the gene-sequencing battle with a disposable DNA sequencer that will sell for under $900 in the second half of 2012. The USB-size sequencer is called the MinION (min-ion), and has already demonstrated the potential to bring genome sequencing and personalized medicine out of the lab and into physicians’ offices.  Read More

A depiction of glucose molecules moving across the surface of a plasmonic interferometer

In order to measure their blood glucose levels, most diabetics must perform painful finger-prick tests on a daily basis. Hopefully, however, that may not always be the case. Scientists at Rhode Island’s Brown University are now developing a biochip, that could someday be used to assess the concentration of glucose molecules in a tiny sample of saliva.  Read More

A new technique uses light to differentiate between healthy (top) and misshapen (bottom) r...

Ordinarily, red blood cells should look like a disc with a medium-sized dimple on the top and bottom. If that dimple is either too large or too small, it can indicate the presence of a disease such as sickle cell anemia or malaria. Pathologists traditionally have had to examine blood samples under a microscope, manually looking for these misshapen cells. A new technique developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, however, uses light to automatically detect such cells within seconds.  Read More

Prof. Ki Chon and doctoral student Chris Scully, who is working on Chon's app (Photo: WPI)...

Users of the Pulse Phone app may be justifiably impressed at the way in which it lets them measure their heart rate, simply by placing their finger over their iPhone's camera lens. Well, a biomedical engineer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts has taken that concept several steps farther. Inspired by Pulse Phone, Prof. Ki Chon developed an Android app that measures not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation - all through a finger against the lens. Measurements made by the app are said to be as accurate as those obtained using standard medical monitors.  Read More

Scientists are working on biological fuel cells, that could be used to power medical impla...

While there’s no denying that implantable medical devices such as pacemakers save peoples’ lives, powering those implants is still a tricky business. The batteries in a standard pacemaker, for instance, are said to last for about eight years – after that, surgery is required to access the device. Implants such as heart pumps are often powered by batteries that can be recharged from outside the body, but these require a power cord that protrudes through the patient’s skin, and that keeps them from being able to swim or bathe. Now, however, scientists at Germany’s University of Freiburg are developing biological fuel cells, that could draw power for implants from the patient’s own blood sugar.  Read More

Students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could make...

There are approximately 1.5 million people worldwide who require regular hemodialysis treatments, due to the fact that their kidneys are no longer able to clean their blood. Clinicians generally reuse the same access point on each patient's body, for routing their bloodstream to the dialysis machine. Unfortunately, over time this can cause infections, blood clots or narrowing of the arteries at that access point. This can result in the need for a blood-vessel-opening procedure, or sometimes even in death. Now, however, a group of five biomedical engineering graduate students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could act as a safe, easy access point for dialysis.  Read More

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are developing an artificial pancreas, that would automatic...

If a just-announced research project is successful, then maybe – just maybe – diabetics will finally be free of having to perform daily finger prick blood tests and insulin injections. Based on new findings regarding the body’s production of insulin, Mayo Clinic endocrinologists Yogish Kudva and Ananda Basu are in the process of developing an artificial pancreas, that would automatically deliver the hormone when needed.  Read More

A diagram depicting Tao's system for thinning blood using magnetic fields (Image: Temple U...

Overly-viscous blood can damage blood vessels and lead to heart attacks. Therefore, people who are at risk of heart attacks take medications such as Aspirin, in order to thin their blood. Such drugs can have unpleasant side effects, however, and can only be taken a certain number of times per day. Prof. Rongjia Tao, a physicist from Philadelphia's Temple University, now thinks he might have come up with a better way of thinning human blood - he subjects it to magnetic fields.  Read More

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