Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Infections

Bacterial biofilm formation on the right side of medical tubing is visible after being sta...

Whenever foreign objects such as catheters, implants or other devices are placed within the human body, there's a danger that bacterial colonies known as biofilms could collect on them, leading to infections. Now, however, scientists at Harvard University's Wyss Institute have created a material that's too slippery for those biofilms to cling onto. It works by continuously releasing oil.  Read More

 Researchers have found one of the underlying processes of skin-based immunity (Photo: Shu...

The skin is the body's first line of defense against infection, with an extensive network of skin-based immune cells responsible for detecting the presence of foreign invaders. However, in addition to pathogens, an immune response can be triggered by allergens or even our own cells, resulting in unwanted inflammation and allergies. Researchers have now shed new light on the way the immune system in our skin works, paving the way for future improvements in tackling infections, allergies and autoimmune diseases.  Read More

OpenBiome is paying cold, hard cash for your best poo (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you think your better half buys a lot of crap, then you might want to consider OpenBiome before starting on the criticism. The American non-profit is paying donors dollars for their doo-doo in an effort to gather more materials for fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs), a relatively new, but 90 percent effective, treatment for the debilitating Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).  Read More

Scientists have discovered a compound that neither Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus au...

Over the past quarter century, many pharmaceutical companies have largely turned their backs on the quest to develop new antibiotics, blaming difficulties surrounding the clinical trials process and turning their attention to the more profitable development of so-called "lifestyle drugs." One company bucking the trend is NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, which has announced the discovery of a new class of antibiotic that holds promise for treating drug-resistant superbugs.  Read More

Oto HOME lets parents get their children's ears checked, without a visit to the pediatrici...

Of all the reasons that children are taken to the pediatrician, ear infections are among the most common. The children don't like going, obviously, plus those visits place a burden on parents and doctors alike. That's why San Francisco-based medical tech firm CellScope created the Oto HOME. It's a smartphone attachment that lets parents image the inside of their child's ear at home, and then show the video to a pediatrician via the internet.  Read More

A diagram illustrating the makeup of the implants

Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose.  Read More

A new compound could help end our over-reliance on antibiotics to fight bacterial infectio...

It’s no secret we are facing an antibiotic crisis. Overuse has caused widespread antibiotic resistance, leading the World Health Organisation to declare we are "headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill." Scientists from the University of Bern have developed a new non-antibiotic compound that treats severe bacterial infections and avoids the problem of bacterial resistance.  Read More

The prototype biospleen and components (Image: DARPA)

Today, when we think of the dangers of the battlefield, we think of wounds caused by bullets, bombs, and other weapons. But as late as the Spanish American war of 1898, the number of soldiers who died from infectious diseases as opposed to directly from combat injuries was seven to one. Thanks to the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics, that ratio has swung dramatically the other way, but it’s still a major problem, not only for military personnel, but civilians too. DARPA is developing an artificial spleen, or "biospleen," as a way to help fight deadly infections without antibiotics.  Read More

A unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria found in the honey stomach of bees shows promise...

We've seen several promising developments arise in recent years in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or so-called "superbugs", from antibiotic "smart bombs" and hydrogels to "ninja polymers" and natural proteins. The latest potential weapon to join the armory comes from a substance used for thousands of years to fight infections – raw honey.  Read More

A new antibacterial gel has been shown to penetrate and kill off certain kinds of superbug...

Drug-resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, pose a very real threat to public health. The over prescription and consumption of antibiotics has contributed to a resilient new breed of germs that could see minor infections once again evolve into life-threatening conditions. The latest development in the fight against this threat comes from scientists at Queens University in Belfast, who have produced an antibacterial gel capable of breaking through a protective casing and killing off certain types of drug-resistant bacteria.  Read More

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