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Washington University in St. Louis

Muscle and tendon strains or tears may soon be detectable prior to injury, thanks to new a...

When it comes to muscle, tendon, and bone injuries, early diagnosis can save you from a world of hurt and lengthy rehabilitation. Researchers at Washington University in St Louis have developed algorithms that may one day – after some refinement in imaging techniques – identify tiny strains before they turn into serious injuries.  Read More

Diffuse optical tomography could offer a safer alternative to fMRI and PET scans (Photo: T...

When doctors want to monitor someone's brain activity, they generally use either functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or positron emission tomography (PET). One subjects the patient to strong magnetic fields, while the other involves radiation exposure. Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, however, have recently had success using diffuse optical tomography (DOT). Although it may look kind of extreme, it basically just involves shining LEDs into the subject's head.  Read More

A beating rabbit's heart, fitted with one of the membranes (Photo: Igor Efimov)

When it comes to monitoring the electrical activity of the heart, or delivering electrical stimulation to it (as in the case of pacemakers), most current technologies rely on electrodes that make contact with the organ in just a few locations. That doesn't necessarily provide a very detailed picture of what's going on, nor does it deliver stimulation all that evenly. Now, scientists have created a sensor-laden three-dimensional elastic membrane that can be pulled over the whole heart, to provide a large number of contact points.  Read More

MD Julie Margenthaler wears the eyepiece during cancer surgery

When doctors are operating on a patient to remove a cancer, they face a major challenge: telling healthy and cancerous cells apart. But a new device being developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis' School of Medicine could provide a safe, affordable and portable solution.  Read More

Regular implantable defibrillators (like this one) may save patients' lives, but also infl...

While regular pacemakers attempt to rectify arrhythmias (irregular heart beat rhythms) using constantly-delivered electric pulses, implantable cardioverter defibrillators do something a bit different. As long as everything stays normal, they don’t do any shocking – when they detect a dangerously fast heart beat, however, they respond by delivering a massive jolt of electricity to the heart. While this may save the patient’s life, it’s also very traumatic and painful. Now, a team of scientists from Washington University in St. Louis may have come up with a solution to that problem.  Read More

Scientists destroy simulated Earths to better understand exoplanets, such as Earth-like pl...

Unlike in old B movies, real scientists don’t scream “Fools! I’ll destroy them all!” before throwing the switch on their doomsday device. At least, most of the them don’t. However, the August 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal reports that a team of scientists are working on destroying the world - not once, but repeatedly. Fortunately, the world they’re destroying exists only in a computer simulation and its destruction is in the service of learning more about planets revolving around other stars.  Read More

Surgeons have restored some hand function to a quadriplegic patient by rerouting nerves in...

It's been a good news week for those suffering debilitating spinal injuries. First we looked at a breakthrough that enables quadriplegic patients to move robotic arms using just their thoughts and now, in related news, surgeons at the Washington University School of Medicine have reported the successful rerouting of working nerves in the upper arms of a quadriplegic patient, restoring some hand function.  Read More

A new marker of Alzheimer's disease can predict how rapidly a patient's memory and other m...

A new marker of Alzheimer’s disease can predict how rapidly a patient’s memory and other mental abilities will decline after the disorder is diagnosed, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Just released in Neurology were the results of a three-year long study that followed 60 patients with early Alzheimer's disease. The study found that rapid mental decline was predicted by the presence of larger levels of visinin-like protein 1 (VILIP-1) in the spinal fluid.  Read More

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