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U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Medical

Neurodegenerative disorders may meet their match with 3D micro-scaffold

Injecting reprogrammed stem cells into the brain to tackle neurodegenerative diseases isn't a new idea, but a new technique might significantly improve the effectiveness of the treatment. A team of sceintists, led by researchers at Rutgers University, has developed and conducted successful animal tests of a three-dimensional polymer micro-scaffold that dramatically improves cell survival rates following transplantation.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

HIV-prevention vaginal ring proves effective in African trial

While condoms and preventative drugs are effective at blocking HIV transmission, for women in developing regions like sub-Saharan Africa, such methods can be too expensive or impractical for continual use. A new treatment, which provides patients with a more long-term protective solution in the form of a drug-releasing vaginal ring, has proved partially effective in a new study.
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Medical

Genomic signature could lead to new early-detection cancer test

Detecting cancer when it's still in the early stages of development is a difficult task, but an extremely important one, with the chances of effective treatment being much higher the quicker it's caught. Now, a team of researchers from the National Institute of Health (NIH) has identified a signature of tumor DNA that occurs, and is detectable, in five different cancers – a discovery that could lead to a simple early detection blood test.Read More

Medical

New hydrogel aids skin regeneration to improve wound healing

Healing chronic skin wounds can be difficult, particularly when they span large areas, or when healing is complicated by health problems such as a lack of mobility. A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has worked to improve the process, creating a more effective method of regeneration through use of a new material that creates a porous scaffold, allowing wounds to heal more effectively.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

FDA approves first drug to prevent HIV infection

While there are many methods for preventing HIV transmission that work in principle (abstinence, safe sex, monogamy to some extent), in practice efforts to prevent new HIV infections have reached a plateau - about 50 thousand new cases are reported every year in the United States and no progress has been made on reducing this number for at least 15 years, with the overall rate of infection remaining stable since at least 2004. In response to the almost complete lack of effective prevention methods, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has now approved the prophylactic use of the anti-retroviral combination drug Truvada, to reduce the risk of people acquiring HIV. Read More

Science

Neuroprosthesis restores hand movement in paralyzed monkeys

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a neuroprosthesis that restores complex movement in the paralyzed hands of monkeys. By implanting a multi-electrode array directly into the brain of the monkeys, they were able to detect the signals that generate arm and hand movements. These signals were deciphered by a computer and relayed to a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device, bypassing the spinal cord to deliver an electrical current to the paralyzed muscles. With a lag time of just 40 milliseconds, the system enabled voluntary and complex movement of a paralyzed hand. Read More

Medical

New handheld devices designed to detect brain injuries on-the-spot

It's sadly ironic that the very properties which make our skulls such excellent brain protectors, strength and rigidity, often work against us after head injuries. Not only does the hard bone conceal damage from concussions and bleeding, say, but it also confines the swelling, causing intra-cranial pressure to surge, a situation that can lead to further brain damage. While CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging systems are crucial to an accurate assessment, they are rarely available to emergency medical personnel at remote accident sites or on the battlefield. To help address the need for rapid and timely diagnosis of head traumas, separate research teams at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) have each developed hand-held devices that use Near Infra-Red (NIR) imaging to quickly detect hematomas (internal bleeding) and other life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI).Read More

Science

I think, therefore I move - 'brain cap' turns thought into motion

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) continue to advance the development of their “brain cap” technology that allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. The team has already had success in using EEG brain signals captured from the cap’s 64 electrodes attached to users’ scalps to reconstruct 3D hand movements and to control a computer cursor with their thoughts, and now the team has successfully reconstructed the complex 3D-movements of the ankle, knee and hip joints during treadmill walking. The aim is to provide a non-invasive technology that can return motor function to victims of paralysis, injury or stroke.Read More

Science

Molecule that can erase or restore long-term memories – in rats

If you’re struggling to remember the names of classmates from high school, or just can’t forget that time you made a complete ass of yourself in front of your high school crush, then a single molecule known as PKMzeta could be to blame – and increasing or decreasing its activity in the brain could either help you remember those names that seem on the tip of your tongue or drive that embarrassing memory from your head. In a new study, researchers have demonstrated that a memory in rats can either be enhanced or erased long after it is formed by manipulating the activity of the brain enzyme PKMzeta.Read More

Medical

Near infrared light to help researchers hunt for cancers

Cancer is an insidious disease, paying no heed to when, where or whom it might strike. But scientists continue to wage a war against it, hoping to claim the ultimate prize – a cure. Latest research from chemists at the University of Florida suggests a new technique using near infrared light could help scientists to view and photograph lysosomes – sac-like structures within cells – that are linked to cancer and other diseases.Read More

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