Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Injuries

The shape-memory polymer is soft when heated, but turns stiff as it cools

Whether they're the result of injuries, surgery or birth defects such as cleft palate, missing sections of bone in the skull or jaw can certainly affect someone's appearance. Although there are some methods of filling in such gaps, they have limitations that limit their application. A newly-developed foam-like material, however, may be able to succeed where other approaches have failed.  Read More

The foam is currently injected via this applicator

When a soldier is wounded on an extremity such as an arm or leg, applying a bandage and/or tourniquet to stop the bleeding is typically a fairly straight-ahead process. However, in cases where an injury is received right at the junction between an extremity and the torso – places such as the neck, shoulder or groin – things get a lot trickier. Gauze pads treated with clotting agents are often packed into the wound, although they're not always sufficient for staunching the flow. A group of students from Johns Hopkins University are working on a better alternative, in the form of a hardening foam that's injected into the wound.  Read More

The Restoring Active Memory project is aimed at helping brain-injured veterans and civilia...

Earlier this year, we heard about how DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was setting up its new Biological Technologies Office. The goal of that division is to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security." This week, the agency released details of one of the office's key projects, called Restoring Active Memory. It's aimed at using implantable "neuroprosthetics" to help army veterans and other people recover from memory deficits caused by brain injury or disease.  Read More

The bruise trousers release magenta dye when subjected to impact (Photo: Lucy Jung, Ming K...

Along with the obvious mobility issues faced by athletes who are unable to walk, they also face another challenge – if they're unable to feel their legs, that means they can't always tell when they've been hurt. Severe bruises or broken bones can simply go unnoticed, until they develop into even more of a problem. That's why a group of students at Imperial College London have invented a set of "bruise trousers" that show such athletes when and where they've received a serious impact below the waist.  Read More

A new adhesive gel could keep injured soldiers from losing their vision (Photo: Aiding our...

When soldiers or other people sustain eye injuries, retinal detachment and vision loss can result if the eye's vitreous gel isn't kept from leaking out. Given that Band-Aids can't be placed directly on the eyeball, however, a team of scientists from the University of Southern California has created an alternative – reversible eye glue.  Read More

A nanoparticle-based surgical adhesive might soon take the place of sutures, staples or po...

In the ongoing quest to develop better ways of sealing wounds within the body, scientists have created surgical adhesives inspired by porcupine quills, mussels and slugs. Not all good ideas have to come from the animal kingdom, however. Recently, French researchers have had success in repairing internal organs using an adhesive solution that incorporates either silica or iron oxide nanoparticles.  Read More

Protein from silkworm cocoons has been used to create strong yet biodegradable bone fixati...

Silk is an amazingly strong material, yet it also harmlessly biodegrades when left in the body. This has led to its use in experimental brain implants, heart patches, and even bio-electronics. According to a new study conducted by scientists at Tufts University School of Engineering and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it may now also find use in the production of better plates and screws used for securing broken bones.  Read More

safe@home detects seniors' falls, and contacts people who can help (Photo: Shutterstock)

For seniors in general, falls can result result in broken hips or other serious injuries. For seniors living alone, however, there's also a good chance that they could end up lying on the floor for up to several hours before anyone else knows what's happened. User-triggered radio devices such as Life Alert are helpful up to a point, although they're not much good if the user isn't carrying them at the time, or if they get knocked unconscious. That's why a group of German companies are developing the automatic safe@home system.  Read More

RevMedx's XStat syringe injects hemostatic sponges into deep wounds to control hemorrhage ...

Uncontrolled hemorrhage (bleeding out) is responsible for 80 percent of combat deaths. About the same proportion of those who die after being evacuated to a medical treatment facility also die of hemorrhage, usually associated with deep arterial wounds that cannot be treated using tourniquets – people die because we can't plug a simple hole. Now RevMedX, a small Oregon startup, has developed an alternative approach to treat such potentially survivable injuries.  Read More

An eTriage armband, that transmits a patient's location and condition

When emergency response crews have to deal with many casualties at once, such as at a disaster site, one of the first things they do is set up a triage system. This involves assessing the severity of each patient's injuries, so that the people who need help most urgently get it first. It's a system that works, but the EU-funded BRIDGE project is trying to make it better. The project partners are developing a new high-tech triage, that incorporates GPS and RFID technology.  Read More

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