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The enzyme that allows fireflies to glow could be used to monitor the effectiveness of an ...

Millions of people around the world are medicated with heparin, a blood thinner used for the treatment and prevention of blood clots. One of the ways in which doctors monitor the effectiveness of heparin is to look for a blood protein known as factor Xa in a patient’s bloodstream – the less factor Xa activity that is occurring, the better. Now, thanks to an enzyme obtained from fireflies, that protein may be easier than ever to detect.  Read More

A diagram illustrating how the hydrogel sensor works (Image: Birck Nanotechnology Center, ...

Scientists have used gelatinous hydrogel to create an inexpensive new type of biochemical sensor that is highly sensitive, sturdy, long-lasting, and has few moving parts. The gel expands or contracts according to the acidity of its environment, a quality that allows the sensor to measure changes in pH down to one one-thousandth on the pH scale. This amount of accuracy, along with its robustness, could make it ideal for chemical and biological applications such as environmental monitoring in waterways and glucose monitoring in blood.  Read More

A new type of camera can detect invisible bloodstains, with none of the drawbacks of the t...

Watch even one episode of the various CSI shows or any of its imitators, and you’re likely to see a crime scene investigator whip out their bottle of luminol. The chemical product is commonly used for detecting invisible residual blood, as it glows when combined with an oxidizing agent and exposed to the iron in hemoglobin. It does, however, have some drawbacks – luminol is potentially toxic, it sometimes dilutes blood evidence to the point that DNA can’t be detected, it can smear blood spatter patterns, and it sometimes provides false positives. Now, researchers from the University of South Carolina have developed a blood-detecting camera that reportedly does none of those things.  Read More

Blood transfusions may one day come from blood produced from a patient's skin

A new technique that allows blood to be made directly from skin cells has been discovered. The pioneering approach by Canadian researchers uses human skin stem cells to create blood stem cells without an intermediate step that previously was thought necessary. It could be used for creating blood for surgery, or treating conditions like anemia using a patch of the patient's skin.  Read More

The MGH microfluidic neutrophil-capturing device

Recently, researchers have come to realize that neutrophils – the most abundant type of white blood cell – play a key role in both chronic and acute inflammation, and in the activation of the immune system in response to injury. Of course, the best way to study neutrophils is to get a hold of some, but traditional methods have required relatively large blood samples, and take up to two hours. Because neutrophils are sensitive to handling, it is also possible to inadvertently activate them, which alters their molecular patterns. A microfluidic device developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), however, allows for neutrophils to be collected from a relatively small blood sample, unactivated, in just minutes.  Read More

Blood vessels within a microvascular construct, covering an implanted device

Researchers at the University of Louisville/Jewish Hospital's Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (CII) have discovered a method for preventing scar tissue from forming around implantation devices. This discovery could have a great impact on the functionality of common implanted devices, such as pacemakers, chemotherapy ports and glucose sensors. According to the study, if a unique system of blood vessels is created to interact with local tissue around an implanted device, better long term results can be achieved. The process involves “pre-vascularizing” a device prior to implantation, using what the team call a microvascular construct (MVC), which consists of blood vessels contained within a collagen gel. The idea is that a device will be coated in this gel prior to implantation. Since the body’s natural process is to find a foreign object and form a scar around it, this new study could prevent this problem from occurring.  Read More

MIT researchers have devised a way to measure blood glucose levels by shining near-infrare...

For most sufferers of type 1 diabetes pricking their fingers several times a day to draw blood for testing is an annoying (and often painful), but necessary part of life. It is essential to keep an eye on blood glucose levels because too much sugar can damage organs, while too little deprives the body of necessary fuel. To minimize that pain and inconvenience, researchers at MIT’s Spectroscopy Laboratory are working on a noninvasive way to measure blood glucose levels using light.  Read More

Glucose molecules such as this can cause serious problems for diabetes sufferers

Diabetes is an enormous global problem... and it is on the rise. Despite decades of research and advances in technology, the methods of accurately measuring glucose in the body are still quite primitive. A new type of blood glucose monitor being developed at MIT could not only eliminate the need for finger pricks, but could also offer more accurate readings by way of a “tattoo” of nanoparticles injected below the skin.  Read More

Example of test results for the A  blood group

A study by Australian scientists has resulted in the development of a test for blood type that can be performed using antibody impregnated paper manufacturable for a few cents per test, which is significantly cheaper than existing tests of a similar nature. This could make all the difference in the developing world, considering it's essential to test for blood type before performing a blood transfusion on a patient whose blood type is unknown. The test essentially allows blood type to be determined based on the distance the blood travels along the channels in the paper from the point where it is dropped.  Read More

Bayer's Didget blood glucose meter connects to Nintendo DS and DS Lite systems and awards ...

Dealing with juvenile diabetes can’t be easy, so anything that adds a little fun to the tedious process of monitoring blood glucose levels might help put a smile on a child’s face. Bayer Diabetes Care has just introduced Didget - a unique blood glucose monitoring system that is designed to encourage regular testing with reward points to use online or through Nintendo gaming systems.  Read More

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