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Hydrogels

— Medical

Elastic, wound-healing hydrogel activated by light

By - July 5, 2015 2 Pictures

Hydrogels have huge potential in the field of biomedicine, but aren't without their shortcomings in their existing form. These tiny polypeptide chains are championed for their many possible applications. Indeed, in the last few years alone we've seen advances that suggest they could find use in generating new heart tissue, fighting off superbugs and the controlled release of anti-inflammatory drugs. But researchers have now developed a hydrogel that mimics the elasticity of human tissue and can be activated by exposure to light, claiming it could offer safer means of repairing wounded tissue.

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— Science

Toxin-absorbing nanosponges could be used to soak up localized infections

By - May 20, 2015 1 Picture

Back in 2013, we heard that nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diago (UC San Diego) had successfully used nanosponges to soak up toxins in the bloodstream. Fast-forward two years and the team is back with more nanospongey goodness, now using hydrogel to keep the tiny fellas in place, allowing them to tackle infections such as MRSA, without the need for antibiotics.

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— Medical

Gel turns to bone-growing scaffold when injected into the body

By - May 26, 2014 2 Pictures
In the field of regenerative medicine, one of the current areas of interest involves the use of scaffolding-like materials that a patient's own cells can be "seeded" onto. As the cells grow and populate the material, they gradually replace it, until all that remains is a solid piece of tissue or bone. Now, scientists at Houston's Rice University have taken that concept a step further, using a polymer that is liquid at room temperature, but that solidifies into a scaffold when injected into patients' bodies. Read More
— Science

Smart holograms can test for and monitor diseases

By - January 27, 2014 3 Pictures
A team of interdisciplinary researchers have created "smart" holograms that can monitor health conditions or diagnose diseases, by changing color in the presence of disease indicators in a person's breath or bodily fluids. When developed into a portable medical test, these responsive holograms could make testing for medical conditions and monitoring one's health very easy, the scientists claim. Read More
— Medical

Hydrogel could dispense pain-killing medicine to joints as they move

By - January 16, 2014 2 Pictures
People suffering from joint problems such as osteoarthritis tend to take a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs, even though such medications affect their whole body, all of the time. Scientists at the University of Delaware, however, are developing what could be a more effective alternative. It's a hydrogel that can be injected into the joint, and it releases medication only in response to mechanical force – in other words, whenever the joint is used. Read More
— Robotics

Electrically-charged hydrogel has applications for soft robotics and biomedical fields

By - August 4, 2013 5 Pictures
Soft robotics is a quickly emerging field that takes a lot of inspiration from marine creatures like squids and starfish. A light-controlled hydrogel was recently developed that could be used for control of these new robotic devices, but now researchers at North Carolina State University are taking the development of soft robotic devices to a new level with electrically-charged hydrogels. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Hydrogel keeps implants from being rejected – in mice

By - May 15, 2013 1 Picture
No matter what sort of wondrous implantable medical devices are created, they’re not going to do anyone much good if the recipient's body simply rejects them. With that in mind, scientists at the University of Washington have developed a synthetic biomaterial that they claim is “exceptional” at keeping implanted materials from being attacked by the immune system. Read More
— Science

Anti-microbial hydrogel offers new weapon against drug-resistant bacteria

By - January 30, 2013 1 Picture
Whether it’s in hospitals, restaurant kitchens or our homes, harmful bacteria such as E.coli are a constant concern. Making matters worse is the fact that such bacteria are increasingly developing a resistance to antibiotics. This has led to a number of research projects, which have utilized things such as blue light, cold plasma and ozone to kill germs. One of the latest non-antibiotic bacteria-slayers is a hydrogel developed by IBM Research and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore. Read More
— Medical

Solid when wet and liquid when dry – Cornell's new DNA hydrogel seems confused

By - December 14, 2012 2 Pictures
Every now and again, Cornell University Professor Dan Luo gets a surprise. His research team has discovered a new variety of hydrogel – like Jello, except made with DNA instead of gelatin. When full of water, it is a soft, elastic solid. But when the water is removed, the hydrogel collapses, losing its shape. The resulting material pours like a liquid, and conforms to the shape of its container. The most interesting part, however, is that the liquid hydrogel remembers its shape. Add water and you get back the original Jello-like shape. Terminator T-1000, anyone? Read More
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