Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Disease

Blocking the pathway used by the malaria parasite to export proteins could pave the way fo...

While the World Health Organization (WHO) says increased preventative measures have seen malaria mortality rates fall by 42 percent since 2000, the disease still claims more than half a million lives each year. A study carried out by a team of Melbourne-based researchers has shown that blocking a gateway used by the parasite to export proteins ultimately causes it to die off, opening the door for the development of new types of anti-malarial drugs.  Read More

McMaster University chemical biology graduate student Andrew King examines a chemical used...

A research team from McMaster University, the University of British Columbia and Cardiff University has discovered a fungus in the soil of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia that may offer hope in an increasingly fraught battle against drug-resistant bacteria.  Read More

Electron micrograph of a flagellated Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, an infectious agent...

It is estimated that every year in America there are around 76 million food-borne illnesses that result in 325,000 hospitalizations and over 5,000 deaths. One of the main causes is the disease "Listeria", which has the highest hospitalization (92 per cent) and death (18 per cent) rate among all food-borne pathogen infections. Now researchers at the University of Southampton say that they are trialling a device designed to detect these bacteria directly on food preparation services, and without the need to send samples away for laboratory testing.  Read More

Rod photoreceptors (in green) within a 'mini retina' derived from human iPS cells in the l...

The eye is often compared to a camera, but although its basic design is as simple as an old-fashioned box Brownie, its detailed structure is more complex than the most advanced electronics. This means that, unlike simpler organs, studies of retinal disease rely heavily on animal studies, and treating such illnesses is extremely difficult. One ray of hope in the field comes from researchers at Johns Hopkins, who have constructed a functioning segment of a human retina out of stem cells that is able to respond to light.  Read More

A link has been discovered between a molecular scaffold and degenerative diseases such as ...

Researchers from King's College London (KCL) claim to have uncovered a link between a molecular scaffold, that allows for interaction between key components of a cell, and the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative diseases. It is possible in the long term that this line of research will yield a new target for tailored treatment in the fight against devastating afflictions such as dementia and motor neuron disease.  Read More

One of the vibrating capsules, with a quarter for scale (Photo: Digestive Disease Week)

According to Dr. Yishai Ron, a researcher at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, nearly half of the people who take medication for chronic constipation are unsatisfied with the results. That dissatisfaction can stem from unwanted side effects, concerns over the long-term safety of the medication, or "the fact that it simply doesn’t work." That's why he and his colleagues have created an oral capsule that relieves constipation by vibrating its way along the intestinal tract.  Read More

Smartphones with simple lens attachments might soon be able to analyze fluid samples (Phot...

We've recently seen a number of projects aimed at creating Star Trek-like medical tricorders, that take the form of stand-alone electronic devices built specifically for the purpose. Now, however, scientists at the University of Houston are taking an approach that's currently popular in many other areas of product design – they've asked, "Why build a whole new device, if a smartphone can provide the electronics?". The result is a proposed phone lens attachment, that could be used to diagnose diseases in real time.  Read More

Alzheimer's disease gradually destroys the brain and its function (Photo: US National Inst...

US medical researchers have developed a blood test which predicts with 90 percent accuracy if an individual will develop Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment within three years. The test, which looks for a set of ten lipid markers, will allow treatments to be sought that may be effective during this early, asymptomatic stage of the disease.  Read More

A compound commonly found in fruit and vegetables, including apples, grapes and strawberri...

Alzheimer's disease represents the most common form of dementia, with the early stages of the disease generally characterized with short term memory loss and learning difficulties that increase in severity as the patient progresses in age. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California, have discovered that with regular treatments of the antioxidant fisetin, they were able to prevent memory loss in mice with genetic mutations linked to Alzheimer's.  Read More

A new cell-printing technique similar to the ancient art of block printing could see the c...

Researchers in Houston have developed a cost effective method for printing living cells, claiming almost a 100 percent survival rate. The method, which is akin to a modern version of ancient Chinese wood block printing, allow cells to be printed on any surface and in virtually any two dimensional shape. And while current inkjet printers adapted to print living cells can cost upwards of US$10,000 with a cell survival rate of around 50 percent, this simple new technique could see the cell stamps produced for around $1.  Read More

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