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A way to detect new viruses

June 17, 2013 2:14 pm | News | Comments

In recently published research, St. Louis Univ. researchers describe a technology that can detect new, previously unknown viruses. The technique offers the potential to screen patients for viruses even when doctors have not identified a particular virus as the likely source of an infection. In the new approach, scientists use blood serum as a biological source to categorize and discover viruses.

Research identifies scent of melanoma

June 13, 2013 6:00 pm | News | Comments

Melanoma is a tumor that is responsible for approximately 75% of skin cancer deaths. According to new research, odors from human skin cells can be used to identify melanoma. The method, which uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques, takes advantage of the fact that human skin produces numerous airborne chemical molecules known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, many of which are odorous.

Cheetah's acceleration power key to their success

June 13, 2013 10:35 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Researchers have recently determined that cheetahs can run twice as fast as Olympian Usain Bolt on a straightaway. Then they measured the energy a cheetah muscle produces compared to body size and calculated the same for Bolt, the sprinter. They found the cheetah had four times the crucial kick power of the Olympian. That power to rapidly accelerate—not just speed alone—is the key to the cheetah's hunting success.

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With brain-computer interface, tasks become as simple as waving a hand

June 11, 2013 6:07 pm | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. Researchers have recently shown the brain can adapt to this brain-computer interface technology. Their work shows that it behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing, or waving a hand.

New single virus detection technique yields faster diagnosis

May 30, 2013 2:29 pm | News | Comments

To test the severity of a viral infection, clinicians try to gauge how many viruses are packed into a certain volume of blood or other bodily fluid. However, the standard methods used for these tests are only able to estimate the number of viruses in a given volume of fluid. Now two independent teams have developed new optics-based methods for determining the exact viral load of a sample by counting individual virus particles.

FDA approves blood test to diagnose diabetes

May 23, 2013 5:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it approved a new blood test from Roche to help doctors diagnose diabetes. The Cobas Integra 800 is a blood test that measures a patient's average blood sugar level over the previous three months. In particular, the test measures an oxygen-carrying blood component known as hemoglobin.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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