Restoring movement to a quadriplegic patient

Researchers have successfully restored some movement to the fingers, hand, and wrist of a quadriplegic patient by using recorded signals from his motor cortex, allowing him to perform daily living activities such as pouring from a bottle and stirring the contents. Systems that work by translating neural activity into signals for robotic devices, such as […]

Successfully creating insulin-producing beta cells in the lab

Researchers have created insulin-producing cells in a petri dish for the first time, moving closer to finding a potential cure for diabetes. The researchers discovered a switch that makes it “possible to produce a functional human beta cell that’s responding almost as well as the natural thing,” according to Ronald Evans, senior author and a […]

Learning from the naked mole rat

When most mammals, including humans, are in a low-oxygen environment they begin to hyperventilate to increase their oxygen uptake. However this is an energetically costly way to increase oxygen levels in the body. The naked mole rat is unique from other mammals; when it is exposed to hypoxia (low oxygen levels) it does not begin […]

The next miracle cure – exercise

Physical activity and specific exercises have been shown to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of many chronic health conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, low back pain, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However a new review shows these exercises are being under-prescribed by physicians. The authors suggest this is due to a lack of […]

Measuring the munchies – how much THC is in marijuana edibles?

A new way to more accurately measure the amount of cannabinoids in marijuana edibles was presented at the meeting of the American Chemical society March 15, 2016. In the past measurements were frequently inaccurate as the sugars, fats, and starches found in most edibles would clog the analytical device. By using dry-ice and a silica […]

Monocytes — a kind of white blood cell — carrying drug-loaded backpacks (red). (The scale bar is 5 µm.) (Image credit: Roberta Polak & Rosanna Lim)

Improving the cellular backpack

Medicine can be delivered to specific parts of the body by fitting it inside a “backpack” and attaching it to white blood cells. This targeted drug delivery means other tissues of the body aren’t affected, and side effects are limited.  Original research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 17, 2015.

Growing hearts in 3D

Growing realistic human tissue outside the body is now possible thanks to the recently developed “person-on-a-chip” according to researchers at University of Toronto. The new technology, called AngioChip, could one day be used to repair or even replace damaged organs. In the meantime the researchers believe their development offers a new tool for discovering and testing […]

(Image credit: Kang Zhang MD, PhD; Yizhi Liu, MD, PhD)

Improving cataracts outcome using stem cells

A new study is showing that preserving the stem cells within the eye might be a more effective way to treat cataracts, at least in children. Researchers surgically removed the damaged lens using a new technique that allowed them to preserve the lens epithelial stem cells. The minimally invasive surgery facilitated functional lens regeneration in […]

The N95 respirator. (Image credit: Banej

Protecting healthcare workers – Masks v. Respirators

  Respirators and surgical masks both help protect health workers from respiratory infections, however there has been a debate about which is more effective and different guidelines provide different recommendations. A review of the accumulated evidence does not suggest that the N95 respirator is superior to surgical masks. The authors suggest a randomized controlled trial, […]

A completed ear structure printed with the Integrated Tissue-Organ Printing System. (Image credit: Credit: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine)

Printing living bones may be possible

Printing bones and cartilage could be the way of the future. Using specialized ‘bioprinters’, researchers have been able to “print” cells into layered patterns reconstructing human body parts. Current 3D printers are unable to create bone and cartilage with enough structural stability. By combining bioprinters with biodegradable polymer materials researchers were able to “create” the […]

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