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U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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
— Health & Wellbeing

Second Sight announces milestone in groundbreaking retinal implant trial

February 20, 2008 It has to be among the most powerful examples of the miraculous potential of modern science and technology - restoring sight to the blind. Following approval from the US FDA last year, Second Sight Medical Products Inc has now announced that enrollment is complete for the first phase of clinical trials on a system that restores a basic level of sight to sufferers of retinal eye diseases. Enrollment at key European sites also underway. Ten subjects have been recruited for the Phase I trial of the second-generation electronic retinal implant known as The Argus II, which is capable of restoring rudimentary vision using an external camera and transmitter mounted in eyeglasses linked to a tiny array of 60 electrodes that are attached to the retina. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

The Bionic Eye approaches: the next generation of Retinal Implants

February 19, 2007 Patients who have gone blind are a step closer to perhaps one day regaining some of their sight with the news that the United States FDA has approved a study to evaluate an artificial retina. Researchers at the USC Doheny Eye Institute are developing the technology that hopefully will help patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration regain some vision using an implanted artificial retina. The announcement by Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and associate director of research at the Doheny Retina Institute, came at a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco. Read More
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