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Tea trumps coffee for non-cardivascular mortality

September 2, 2014

greentea

Drinking tea is associated with 24% reduced non-cardiovascular mortality, reveals a study of 131,000 people presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress by Professor Nicolas Danchin from France.

The study included 131,401 people aged 18 to 95 years who had a health check up at the Paris IPC Preventive Medicine Center between January 2001 and December 2008. During a mean 3–5 years follow-up,… read more

A batteryless cardiac pacemaker based on self-winding wristwatch

September 2, 2014

The energy harvesting device is sutured directly onto the myocardium (credit: European Society of Cardiology)

A new batteryless cardiac pacemaker controlled by a self-winding wristwatch mechanism that is powered by heart motion has been developed by researchers in the Cardiovascular Engineering Group at ARTORG, University of Bern, Switzerland.

The device was presented at European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2014 by Adrian Zurbuchen a PhD candidate.

“Batteries are a limiting factor in today’s… read more

A multifunctional medical nanoparticle

September 2, 2014

multitasking nanoparticles-ft

Researchers at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and other institutions have created biocompatible multitasking nanoparticles that could be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. The study was published online in Nature Communications.

“These are amazingly useful particles,” noted co-first author Yuanpei Li, a research faculty member in the Lam laboratory. “As… read more

DARPA explores neuromodulation of organ functions to help the human body heal itself

September 2, 2014

ElectRx-ft

DARPA’s new Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx)  (pronounced “electrics”) program aims to develop new high-precision, minimally invasive technologies for modulating nerve circuits to restore and maintain human health, initiated in support of the President’s brain initiative.

“The technology DARPA plans to develop through the ElectRx program could fundamentally change the manner in which doctors diagnose, monitor and treat injury and illness,” said Doug Weber, DARPA program manager. “Instead of relying only… read more

Children with autism learn imitative behavior from socially assistive robot

August 29, 2014

copycat-game

Humanoid robots could help autistic children practice imitation behavior, according to USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers, based on a new study.

They examined how children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) react to humanoid robots that provide “graded cueing” — an occupational therapy technique that shapes behavior by providing increasingly specific cues, or prompts, to help a person learn new or lost skills.

An imitation gameread more

Improving memory with transcranial magnetic stimulation

August 29, 2014

Using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus (credit: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)

Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered that using high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus portion of the brain (which is involved in forming memories) improves long-term memory.

The discovery opens up interesting new possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and cardiac arrest — along with the memory problems… read more

Atoms to product: aiming to make nanoscale benefits life-sized

August 28, 2014

Assembly Gap

DARPA has created the Atoms to Product (A2P) program to develop enhanced technologies for assembling atomic-scale components and integrate them into materials and systems from nanoscale up to product scale — in ways that preserve and exploit distinctive nanoscale properties.

The new program also seeks to develop revolutionary miniaturization and assembly methods that would work at scales 100,000 times smaller than current state-of-the-art technology.

Many common… read more

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules

August 28, 2014

Innate immune cell distribution in regenerating bladder tissue. Elevated levels of CD68+ macrophages (green) and MPO+ neutrophils (red). (Credit: Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute)

The research group of Arun K. Sharma*, PhD has developed a system for patients with urinary bladder dysfunction that may protect them against an inflammatory reaction** resulting from tissue regeneration, which can negatively impact tissue growth, development and function.

The researchers treated a highly pro-inflammatory biologic scaffold with anti-inflammatory peptide amphiphiles (AIF-PAs). (Self-assembling peptide amphiphiles, or PAs, are biocompatible and biodegradable nanomaterials used in a wide range of… read more

Sorting out circulating tumor cells in the blood with sound waves

Could help assess cancer’s spread
August 28, 2014

sorting out

A research team has developed a device that could be used to detect the extremely rare tumor cells that circulate in cancer patients’ blood, helping doctors predict whether a tumor is going to spread.

Developed by researchers from MIT, Pennsylvania State University, and Carnegie Mellon University, the dime-sized device separates out tumor cells from white blood cells by exposing the cells to sound… read more

Helping researchers cope with the medical literature knowledge explosion

IBM Watson, other tools to provide automated reasoning and hypothesis generation from the complete medical literature
August 27, 2014

(Credit: IBM)

Computational biologists at Baylor College of Medicine and analytics experts at IBM research are developing a powerful new tool called the Knowledge Integration Toolkit (KnIT) that promises to help research scientists deal with the more than 50 million scientific papers available in public databases — with a new one publishing nearly every 30 seconds.

The goal: allow researchers pursuing new scientific studies to mine all available medical… read more

Stanford bioengineers close to brewing opioid painkillers

A decade-long effort in genetic engineering is close to re-programming yeast cells to make palliative medicines
August 27, 2014

tanford Bioengineer Christina Smolke has been on a decade-long quest to genetically alter yeast so they can "brew" opioid medicines in stainless steel vats, eliminating the need to raise poppies and then industrially refine derivatives of opium into pain pills. (Credit: Poppy image created by Rachel Sakai)

Stanford bioengineers have hacked the DNA of yeast, reprograming these simple cells to make opioid-based medicines* via a sophisticated extension of the basic brewing process that makes beer.

Led by Associate Professor of Bioengineering Christina Smolke, the Stanford team has already spent a decade genetically engineering yeast cells to reproduce the biochemistry of poppies, with the ultimate goal of producing opium-based medicines, from start to… read more

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain

May be possible to prune synapses with a future drug after diagnosis
August 26, 2014

A neuron from the brain of young person with autism. A new study finds that young people with autism have excess synapses. (Credit: Guomei Tang and Mark S. Sonders/CUMC)

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The… read more

Functional thymus organ grown in mice from lab-created cells

August 26, 2014

Fibroblasts transformed into induced thymic epithelial cells (iTEC) in vitro (left, iTEC in green). iTEC transplanted onto the mouse kidney form an organised and functional mini-thymus (right, kidney cells in pink, thymus cells in dark blue) (credit: MRC)

Scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory to form a replacement thymus*, a vital organ of the immune system.

The advance could in the future aid the development of “lab-grown” replacement organs.

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University ofread more

A fully transparent solar concentrator for windows

August 26, 2014

Solar power with a view: MSU doctoral student Yimu Zhao holds up a transparent luminescent solar concentrator module. (Credit: Yimu Zhao)

Michigan State University researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to see through the window.

It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC) and can be used on buildings, cell phones, and any other device that has a clear surface.

Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around… read more

‘Robo Brain’ will teach robots everything from the Internet

August 26, 2014

Robo Brain (credit: Saxena Lab)

Robo Brain is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals, all being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format.

The reason: to serve as helpers in our homes, offices and factories, robots will need to understand how the world works and how the humans around them behave.

Robotics researchers like Ashutosh Saxena,… read more

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