Enjoying the health benefits of a back-breaking workout without actually working out sure is a tantalizing prospect. This goes a long way to explaining the torrent of exercise equipment that promises to do more for our figures with less of our sweat and tears, and recently, the development of drugs that could imitate the beneficial effects of exercise. The latest advance in this area is the development of a molecule that mimics the effects of exercise by influencing the metabolic process, giving it the potential to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.
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
When things in our body go awry, through disease or infection, for example, the types of molecules in our breath can change. These variations have presented researchers around the world with a very real opportunity to detect various conditions, including lung cancer, with unprecedented ease. The latest scientists to start sniffing around this emerging form of medical diagnosis is a team from the University of Adelaide, who are developing a laser instrument inspired by dog's nose that can screen breath samples for signs of unrest.
Today's smartphones come chock-full of technological capability, intended to help us with everything from taking holiday snaps, finding our way around a new town or staying connected with people around the world. As it turns out, the hardware inside is starting to show huge promise in the world of medical diagnostics, with smartphones repurposed as blood-scanning microscopes, HIV testers and sleep apnea detectors. The latest advance in this area comes in the form of a fiber optic sensor for smartphones that monitors bodily fluids, a tool that could be used for biomolecular tests such as pregnancy or diabetes monitoring.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 387 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, with this number expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. That adds up to a lot of blood sugar checks, diet watching and insulin shots, but researchers in the US have developed a patch that could revolutionize how the disease is managed. The patch contains of more than 100 microneedles, each automatically secreting insulin into the bloodstream when required.
The destruction of the pancreatic cells that leads to type 1 diabetes arises when the body's own immune cells identify them as foreign targets and begin to attack them. But a new technique using tiny particles to mimic the form and function of the pancreatic cells is showing promise in halting the onset of the condition.
One way sufferers of type 1 diabetes may compensate for a lack of insulin is through an experimental procedure called pancreatic islet transplantation, a process that sees clusters of cells transplanted from the pancreas of a healthy donor. A side effect of this is the need for ongoing doses of immunosuppressant drugs to stop the body attacking the foreign cells. But a new approach that sees these clusters protected by a 3D-printed scaffold is showing promise as a delivery technique, potentially pointing to less painstaking ways to manage the condition.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of a number of nasty effects diabetes can have on the human body. The disease sees the development of leaky blood vessels in the eye that over time lead to permanent loss of vision. Though it is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in American adults, its progress can be slowed by certain drugs or laser treatment. But research has now uncovered a new protein found to drive the condition, raising the possibility of preventing it altogether.
A team of researchers from MIT has discovered that creating body implants at a certain size maximizes the amount of time they can spend operational in the body before being neutralized by the immune system. In the future, the research could lead to longer term treatment avenues for diseases that could do away with the need for painful and repeated injections.
Even if you're not diabetic, you've probably heard that they need to
watch out for problems with their feet. That's because they frequently
lack sensation down there, and therefore don't know when it's time to
shift their weight in order to relieve pressure on specific areas of
their feet. The result can be chronic pressure sores, which can in turn
ultimately lead to toe or foot amputations. While pressure-sensing shoe
inserts are one option, Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate
Research claims that its pressure-sensing stockings are a better way to