Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Drugs

Future generations will no doubt wonder at the  carnage we have allowed to develop on our ...

It is a great irony that alcohol has been almost universally legislated into becoming man's most commonly used recreational drug, as it's also the ONLY drug that causes more harm to others than to the user. This is most evident on our roads, where even in supposedly civilized first world countries with low road tolls, alcohol still accounts for between a third and a half of all road deaths and injuries. Now France is attempting a bold solution - from July of this year, it will become law in France to have a working breathalyzer in every car on the road. Don't laugh! The world is fast running out of tolerance for the road toll and tougher laws everywhere are inevitable.  Read More

The chitin found in crab and lobster shells is being used in a process that could lead to ...

Crabs and lobsters ... they're not just for eating, anymore. Chitin, one of the main components of their exoskeletons, has recently found use in things such as self-healing car paint, biologically-compatible transistors, flu virus filters, and a possible replacement for plastic. Now, something else can be added to that list. Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology are developing a technique in which chitin is being used to cheaply produce a currently very-expensive source of antiviral drugs.  Read More

Smartphone apps are currently being developed to keep people from turning to drugs, or soc...

Some day, perhaps soon, it's possible that your smartphone could stop you from shutting yourself off from the world, or turning to illicit substances to deal with the stresses of life. Two separate studies are currently under way, looking at how smartphone-enabled technologies could be used to monitor peoples' levels of stress or depression, and then take action to keep them from making the wrong choices.  Read More

A new compound, J147, could be the first drug capable of halting the progression of Alzhei...

Anyone who has watched as Alzheimer’s disease robs a friend or family member of their memories and faculties before ultimately claiming their life knows just what a truly horrible disease it is. According to the World Health Organization, it is the fourth leading cause of death in high-income countries and, due to an aging worldwide population, it is predicted to affect one in 85 people worldwide by 2050 – unless a treatment can be found. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have high hopes for a new drug they have developed that has improved memory and prevented brain damage in mice and is a promising candidate for the first drug capable of halting the progression of Alzheimer’s in humans.  Read More

A patient inserts a medicated contact lens (Photo: Jeff Etheridge/Auburn University)

We've had our eyes on contact lenses which aim to deliver medicine for several years. Now, a team of biomedical and chemical engineers from Alabama's Auburn University (AU) claims to have designed the first disposable lenses capable of delivering controlled doses of medication for as long as they're being worn.  Read More

The prototype device, which is reportedly able to detect illicit drugs in a person's syste...

Fingerprints have been used to confirm or determine peoples' identities for over one hundred years now, but new technology is allowing them to be put to another use - drug testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting (a spin-off company affiliated with the UK's University of East Anglia) has just unveiled a prototype portable device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs or other substances in a person's system by analyzing the sweat in their fingerprints.  Read More

The AeroShot provides an aerosol caffeine boost

Science fiction movies would have us believe that, in the future, pills (or possibly green wafers) will meet all our nutritional needs, but Harvard professor David Edwards sees things a little differently. Having already introduced the Le Whif chocolate inhaler, Edwards has now turned his attention to the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug - caffeine. The AeroShot Pure Energy delivers a fine powder containing vitamin B and 100 mg of caffeine that dissolves instantly in the mouth. That's around the same amount of caffeine found in one large cup of coffee ... without the calories or coffee breath.  Read More

We’ve previously looked at the development of cancer treatments that deliver drugs directly into cancer cells before releasing their chemotherapeutic payload to reduce the damage done to healthy cells. But a new protein “switch” approach developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University changes the game again by instructing cancer cells to produce their own cancer medication, causing the cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy tissue.  Read More

A modified form of MDMA (pictured here in powder form) has potential as a potent cancer tr...

Six years ago, researchers at the University of Birmingham discovered that more than half of the cancers of white blood cells they looked at responded in the test tube to the growth-suppressing properties of psychotropic drugs, including amphetamine derivatives such as ecstasy and weight-loss pills, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac). Building on this previous work, the researchers have now discovered a modified form of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, they claim has 100 times more cancer-busting properties than the designer drug itself.  Read More

Using a temperature-responsive micromold, MIT engineers created two-layer gel microparticl...

Whether you want to deliver medication to specific cells or create scaffolds for building artificial tissues, currently one of the best media for doing so are polymer microparticles filled with drugs or cells. Traditionally, it has only been possible to make such particles in a few shapes, out of a few materials, and/or with only one layer of “cargo” inside. A new technique developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), however, could see multilayered microparticles being made in many shapes, from a wider variety of materials.  Read More

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