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— Health and Wellbeing

Mucus found to harbor a previously unknown human immune system

Though not something people like to ponder, the purpose of mucus as a protective barrier that keeps underlying tissues moist and traps bacteria and other foreign organisms is well known. However, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) have now discovered that the surface of mucus is also the site of an independent human immune system that actively protects us from infectious agents in the environment. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Kinsa Smart Thermometer does more than just take your temperature

When someone is feeling sick, you take their temperature to see if they’re running a fever. That’s the way it’s been for decades. However, all that a regular thermometer will tell you is their body temperature – it won’t tell you what they might have, or what you should do. The Kinsa Smart Thermometer, while not quite a medical tricorder, is designed to do those things. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Swiss researchers advance "breathprinting" for health checks

Traditional Chinese medicine has long analyzed breath as a way to assess human health and in recent times state-of-the-art technology has been brought to this approach to diagnose various diseases and even stress. Swiss researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich are continuing to advance this field by developing a “breathprinting” technique using mass spectrometry that they hope will become competitive with the established analysis methods based on blood and urine. Read More
— Research Watch

New hope of vaccine for Tasmanian devil’s contagious killer tumor

While many animals face extinction due to poaching or loss of habitat, Tasmanian devil numbers are sbeing dramatically reduced due to a contagious tumor with a mortality rate of 100 percent. Called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), it kills the animal in a matter of months. Now fresh research from the University of Cambridge has delivered new data on the mechanism of the disease which could increase the chances of developing a vaccine. Read More
— Science

Cell Imaging competition showcases stunning microscopic images

We report on the latest developments in biological research all the time here at Gizmag, but it's easy to forget just how beautiful biology can appear when observed at the cellular level. On this note, GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences Cell Imaging Competition has announced its winners for 2012, giving us the opportunity to appreciate the images which will soon light up New York’s Times Square. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists use gene therapy to cure dogs of type 1 diabetes

Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have claimed a first by successfully using a single session of gene therapy to cure dogs of type 1 diabetes. The work has shown that it is possible to cure the disease in large animals with a minimally-invasive procedure – potentially leading the way to further developments in studies for human treatment of the disease. Read More
— Medical

Microneedles used to deliver live dried vaccines through the skin

While it’s vitally important to bring vaccines for diseases such as tuberculosis to developing nations, getting them there is only part of the challenge. Because these countries often have unreliable infrastructures, it’s entirely possible that the vaccines can’t consistently be kept as cold as is required. As a result, they could be rendered ineffective. Now, however, scientists from King’s College London have succeeded in containing a dried live vaccine in a microneedle array, that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Understanding bat evolution could lead to new treatments for viruses and aging

Scientists believe the genes of virus-resistant and long-living wild bats might hold clues to treating cancer and infectious diseases in humans. The theory is that when bats started flying millions of years ago, something changed in their DNA that provides resistance to viruses and helps give them a relatively long life. The researchers hope a better understanding of bat evolution could lead to new treatments for disease and aging in humans. Read More

Fighting HIV with HIV could mean a cure for AIDS

Although there is still much work to do before human trials can even be considered, a scientist from Australia’s Queensland Institute of Medical Research has created a protein that reportedly keeps HIV from progressing into AIDS. Perhaps ironically, that protein is a mutated form of one found in the HIV virus itself. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Synthetic poop created to treat gastrointestinal infections

If the clostridium difficile bacterium becomes over-abundant in a person’s colon, the results can include gastrointestinal problems such as severe diarrhea. Ordinarily, c. difficile populations are kept in check by the usually-present beneficial gut bacteria. If those “good” bacteria are killed off as a side effect of taking antibiotics, however, the nasties can take over. The treatment? Well ... it often involves having another person’s stool implanted in your gut via enema. Yikes. Fortunately, a less icky treatment is in the works, that involves the use of a “synthetic poop” known as RePOOPulate. Read More