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Infections

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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At present, diagnosing malaria can be a difficult process involving powerful microscopes and careful scanning of blood samples for tiny parasites in a technique discovered in 1880. But a more accessible method may be in the works. A team of Australian scientists has discovered that certain chemicals are present and can be detected in the breath of sufferers, raising the possibility of a cheap breath test to diagnose the deadly disease. Read More
Researchers at Canada's McGill University have uncovered what could be a pretty sweet way of warding off bacteria. The scientists developed a concentrated extract of maple syrup and combined it with antibiotics, finding that it heightened bacteria's vulnerability, suggesting it could prove an effective way of lowering dosages required to treat infections and help to hamper the evolution of drug-resistant superbugs. Read More
Bedsores are more than a pain in the backside for bedridden folk, they can develop into dangerous infections and heighten the chances of a patient dying. While swollen ulcers on the skin are a pretty sure sign of their presence, by this point it is often too late for some of their effects to be reversed. But a team of researchers have developed what could function as an early warning system, a smart bandage containing flexible electronics that detects tissue damage before it becomes visible on the surface of the skin. Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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