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Health

The handyscope digital dermascope accessory for iPhone

Call me crazy, but I’ve always found some peace of mind knowing that the latest medical gadget scanning some worrisome part of my body isn’t an accessory for a smartphone, but costs in the millions of dollars and is the result of years of expensive research and development. However, as someone who has more than their fair share of moles dotted all over their body, I’m willing to make an exception for the handyscope. Consisting of an optical attachment and an accompanying app, the handyscope turns an iPhone into a digital dermoscope to provide an instantaneous up close look at potential skin cancers.  Read More

A review by Sprigge in 1911 of an 800-page textbook of paediatric surgery suggests a level...

Respected medical journal Lancet has taken a retrospective look at the past century and found that despite incredible advances in the field of medicine, some common issues persist. Problems identified in 1911 that strike a familiar chord today include the quest to understand and eventually cure cancer, an economic depression and it's negative effect on healthcare delivery and the plight of African nations. Challenges faced in first world countries included the impacts of illicit drug addiction, occupational health and workers' compensation issues, the need for better education of doctors, and the continued prevalence of curable and preventable diseases.  Read More

Lupin seed proteins are being used to create low-fat alternative ingredients for use in da...

There are definitely two schools of thought as to whether or not humans should have meat in their diet, but even many non-vegetarians claim that the production and consumption of animal protein could definitely stand to at least be scaled back, both for environmental and health reasons. It has been estimated that it takes 40 square meters (48 sq. yards) of land to produce one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of meat, while 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of carrots or 80 kilograms (176 lbs) of apples could be raised within that same space. Obesity and cardiovascular disease, meanwhile, have been linked to high-fat diets – diets which often include things like sausages and hamburgers. With concerns like these in mind, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging have developed food ingredients derived from lupin seed proteins, that can reportedly stand in quite convincingly for both milk and animal fat.  Read More

Following on from research that found dogs could literally sniff out cancer, researchers h...

A 2008, researchers led by György Horvath MD, PhD, found that dogs could be trained to literally sniff out cancer. In their study, the researchers were able to train dogs to distinguish different types and grades of ovarian cancer, including borderline tumors. Horvath, together with professor Thomas Linblad from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and researcher Jose Chilo from Gävle University, has now created an electronic nose that can accomplish the same task.  Read More

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte

An HIV-infected man who received stem cell treatment for leukemia from a donor with natural resistance to HIV infection appears to have been cured of HIV, according to a report on the NAM aidsmap website. The treatment, which was carried out in 2007, opens the possibility of a cure for HIV infection through the use of genetically engineered stem cells.  Read More

New research published in two studies suggests that smoking may also affect another vital ...

New research published in two studies suggests that smoking may also affect another vital organ: the brain. In one study, smoking was found to thin the brain cortex in an area suggested to be linked to addiction, meaning long-term smokers could become more prone to addiction the longer they continue to smoke. In the second, successful quitters were found to enjoy the most happiness during periods of abstinence, while a subsequent return to smoking was found to depress mood, suggesting that perceived psychological dependence on smoking as a mood enhancer is in fact quite the reverse.  Read More

Chromosomes, with their telomere caps highlighted. Looking after these telomeres could be ...

The aging process - it's undignified, unwanted, and many would say unnecessary. After all, the cells in your body are constantly replacing themselves - why can't they do it without causing progressive degradation of organs that lead to discomfort, weakness and death? Well, perhaps they can. Harvard scientists have discovered that by controlling certain genetic processes in mice, they can not only slow down the aging process, but "dramatically" reverse it throughout the body. It's a massive discovery, but it won't be able to be used in humans yet without some pretty scary consequences.  Read More

Researchers in the UK are developing a self-diagnosis system for sexually transmitted infe...

A consortium of scientists has been formed to try and stem the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (or infections as they are now called) that's said to be reaching epidemic proportions in the UK. As early diagnosis and treatment is essential in such matters, the team is creating a self-diagnosis system where results can quickly be displayed on a mobile phone or computer screen. The system could even automatically make an appointment at a clinic or direct the unfortunate sufferer to the nearest pharmacy, where treatment would be waiting.  Read More

The Body Volume Index uses a 3D scanning process to analyze fat distribution

Currently, if healthcare practitioners are trying to determine how overweight a patient is, they use the Body Mass Index, or BMI. Invented in the mid-1800s, the BMI is an international standard formula for establishing ideal body weight which involves dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height. A group of international researchers, however, are proposing that the BMI be replaced with a more detailed system, the Body Volume Index, or BVI. Using a 3D white-light scanner, the BVI identifies where the fat is distributed on a patient’s body, and how that compares to what’s normal.  Read More

Nano-scale disturbances in cheek cells indicate the presence of lung cancer.  Image by: Zi...

Early detection of lung cancer is vital for increasing a patient’s survival rate and to prescribe the best form of treatment. Now New York researchers have developed an early detection method involving a simple cheek swab. Called partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy, this new technique involves shining diffuse light on cells from the swab. The test is able to distinguish individuals with or without lung cancer, even if the patient has been a lifelong smoker or suffers from other smoking related illnesses.  Read More

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