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Device can extract human DNA with full genetic data in minutes

May 6, 2013 1:15 pm | News | Comments

Take a swab of saliva from your mouth and within minutes your DNA could be ready for analysis and genome sequencing with the help of a new device. University of Washington engineers and NanoFacture, a Bellevue, Wash., company, have created a device that can extract human DNA from fluid samples in a simpler, more efficient, and environmentally friendly way than conventional methods.

Physical by smartphone becoming real possibility

May 2, 2013 3:35 am | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's not a "Star Trek" tricorder, but by hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical—without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office.  Blood pressure? Just plug the arm cuff into the phone for a quick reading. Heart okay? Put your fingers in the right spot, and the squiggly rhythm of an EKG appears on the phone's screen.

Tests on cancer cells shows them as “squishy”, yet tactically strong

April 29, 2013 8:06 am | News | Comments

To get a better understanding of metastasis, more than 95 graduate students, post docs and professors in a variety of laboratories across the U.S. subjected two cell lines to a battery of tests and measurements using more than 20 different techniques. The work has enabled a comprehensive cataloging and comparison of the physical characteristics of non-malignant and metastatic cells.

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Study aims to understand how neurons represent the world

April 23, 2013 11:49 am | News | Comments

To understand the development of sensory representations within our brain, we have to comprehend how electrical activation is linked to the sensory experience. For this reason, researchers in Italy have analyzed the behavior and the activation of neural networks in rats while carrying out tactile object recognition tests. The study represents the first time that the activity of multiple neurons has been monitored.

Lost your keys? Your cat? The brain can rapidly mobilize a search party

April 22, 2013 9:46 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered that when we embark on a targeted search, various visual and non-visual regions of the brain mobilize to track down a person, animal, or thing. That means that if we're looking for a youngster lost in a crowd, the brain areas usually dedicated to recognizing other objects shift their focus and join the search party.

Bad decisions arise from faulty information, not faulty brain circuits

April 16, 2013 8:11 am | News | Comments

Making choices involves the evaluation of an accumulation of facts. If a wrong choice is made, Princeton University researchers have recently found, the problem may lie in the facts, or information, rather than the brain's decision-making process. The researchers report that erroneous decisions tend to arise from errors, or "noise," in the information coming into the brain.

Implanted 'bracelet' helps treat chronic heartburn

April 11, 2013 10:31 am | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A tiny magnetic bracelet implanted at the base of the throat is greatly improving life for some people with chronic heartburn who get limited relief from medicines. It's a novel way to treat severe acid reflux, which plagues millions of Americans and can raise their risk for more serious health problems.

Doctors use brain scans to “see” and measure pain

April 11, 2013 3:24 am | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

In a provocative new study, scientists reported Wednesday that they were able to "see" pain on brain scans and, for the first time, measure its intensity and tell whether a drug was relieving it. Though the research is in its early stages, it opens the door to a host of possibilities. For example, scans might be used someday to tell when pain is hurting a baby, someone with dementia, or a paralyzed person unable to talk.

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ORNL's awake imaging device moves diagnostics field forward

April 4, 2013 12:13 pm | News | Comments

A technology being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory promises to provide clear images of the brains of children, the elderly, and people with Parkinson's and other diseases without the use of uncomfortable or intrusive restraints. Awake imaging provides motion compensation reconstruction, which removes blur caused by motion, allowing physicians to get a transparent picture of the functioning brain without anesthetics that can mask conditions and alter test results.

New system to improve DNA sequencing

April 3, 2013 9:11 am | News | Comments

A sensing system developed at the University of Cambridge is being commercialized in the U.K. for use in rapid, low-cost DNA sequencing, which would make the prediction and diagnosis of disease more efficient, and individualized treatment more affordable.

New instrument will quickly detect biothreat agents

April 2, 2013 8:04 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a medical instrument that will be able to quickly detect a suite of biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin, botulinum, shiga, and SEB toxin. The device, once developed, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and commercialized, would most likely be used in emergency rooms in the event of a bioterrorism incident.

MicroRNA detection on the cheap

March 29, 2013 7:37 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Current methods of detecting microRNA (miRNA) can be time consuming and costly: The custom equipment used in such tests costs more than $100,000, and the limited throughput of these systems further hinders progress. Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni are helping to rectify these issues through their fast-growing, Cambridge-headquartered startup, Firefly BioWorks Inc., which provides technology that allows for rapid miRNA detection in a large number of samples using standard laboratory equipment.

DNA test identifies ingredients in foods

March 27, 2013 9:18 am | News | Comments

Almost all foodstuffs contain the genetic material of those animal and plant species that were used in their preparation. Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have developed a novel screening procedure that provides for highly sensitive, quantifiable analysis of animal, plant, and microbial substances present in foodstuffs. For this, the researchers have adapted the latest techniques of DNA sequencing.

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Counting white blood cells at home

March 26, 2013 9:59 am | News | Comments

Currently, most white blood cell counts are performed with large-scale equipment in central clinical laboratories. If a physician collects blood samples from a patient in the office, it can take days to get the results. But now engineers at the California Institute of Technology, working with LeukoDx, have developed a portable device to count white blood cells that needs less than a pinprick's worth of blood and takes just minutes to run.

Wireless, implanted sensor broadens range of brain research

March 19, 2013 3:31 pm | News | Comments

A compact, self-contained sensor recorded and transmitted brain activity data wirelessly for more than a year in early stage animal tests, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to allowing for more natural studies of brain activity in moving subjects, this implantable device represents a potential major step toward cord-free control of advanced prosthetics that move with the power of thought

High-resolution endoscope is as thin as a human hair

March 13, 2013 10:09 am | by Andrew Myers, Stanford University | News | Comments

Engineers at Stanford have developed a prototype single-fiber endoscope that improves the resolution of these much-sought-after instruments fourfold over existing designs. This so-called micro-endoscope can resolve objects just 2.5 micrometers in size and could lead to an era of needle-thin, minimally invasive endoscopes able to view features out of reach of today’s instruments.

Rapid cancer detection built on a chip

March 8, 2013 3:39 pm | News | Comments

Early detection is vital for the effective treatment of cancer. In many cases, tell-tale biomarkers are present in the bloodstream long before outward symptoms become apparent. The development of an inexpensive and rapid point-of-care diagnostic test capable of spotting such early biomarkers of disease could save many lives. A research team in Japan working on developing such a test has now produced their most sensitive microRNA detector yet.

Biologists produce rainbow-colored algae

March 7, 2013 3:30 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have engineered a green alga used commonly in laboratories, <em>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</em>, into a rainbow of different colors by producing six different colored fluorescent proteins in the algae cells. Tagging algae with different kinds of fluorescent proteins could help sort different kinds of cells, allow scientists to view cellular structures like the cytoskeleton and flagella, or even to create “fusion proteins”.

New tool better estimates pandemic threats

March 6, 2013 11:12 am | News | Comments

A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses Researchers show that the new tool can produce transmissibility estimates for swine flu, allowing researchers to better evaluate the possible pandemic threat posed by this virus. ntil now, estimates of transmissibility were derived from detailed outbreak investigations, which are resource intensive and subject to selection bias.

Diagnostic cocktail: Pour, shake and stir

March 1, 2013 10:01 am | News | Comments

A homebrewed diagnostic mixture containing a single drop of blood, a dribble of water, and a dose of DNA powder with gold particles could mean rapid diagnosis and treatment of the world's leading diseases in the near future. The cocktail diagnostic is being developed at the University of Toronto and it involves the same technology used in over-the-counter pregnancy tests.

Disease diagnosis at the touch of a button

February 26, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

When viruses like HIV/AIDS strike in underdeveloped regions of the world, they often spiral out of control in part because there is no easy way to bring diagnostic equipment to remote areas so that the diseases can be identified, treated, and stopped before they spread. Now, an inexpensive, portable, easy-to-use device, built by a team of Caltech engineers and biologists, promises to speed the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and other diseases—and improve treatment—in even the most far-flung corners of the world.

Why cells stick: Phenomenon extends longevity of bonds between cells

February 15, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Research carried out by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and The University of Manchester has revealed new insights into how cells stick to each other and to other bodily structures, an essential function in the formation of tissue structures and organs. It's thought that abnormalities in their ability to do so play an important role in a broad range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Building a biochemistry lab-on-a-chip

February 13, 2013 8:04 am | News | Comments

Miniaturized laboratory-on-chip systems promise rapid, sensitive, and multiplexed detection of biological samples for medical diagnostics, drug discovery, and high-throughput screening. Using microfabrication techniques and incorporating a unique design of transistor-based heating, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are further advancing the use of silicon transistor and electronics into chemistry and biology for point-of-care diagnostics.

Scientists probe human cells with high-frequency sound

February 4, 2013 8:29 am | News | Comments

Sound waves are widely used in medical imaging, such as when doctors take an ultrasound of a developing fetus. Now scientists have developed a way to use sound to probe tissue on a much tinier scale. Researchers deployed high-frequency sound waves to test the stiffness and viscosity of the nuclei of individual human cells. The probe could eventually help answer questions such as how cells adhere to medical implants and why healthy cells turn cancerous.

Study: Harmful effects of bisphenol A proven

January 22, 2013 11:43 am | News | Comments

The compound bisphenol A, which is found in plastics and resins, has been under scrutiny as chemists attempt to determine whether it is a health hazard for humans. According to researchers in France, even weak concentrations of bisphenol A are sufficient to produce a negative reaction in human testicles, reducing the production of testosterone hormones.

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