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The Lead

Does radiation from X-rays and CT scans really cause cancer?

July 1, 2015 12:00 am | by Loyola University Health System | News | Comments

In recent years, there has been widespread media coverage of studies purporting to show that radiation from X-rays, CT scans and other medical imaging causes cancer. But such studies have serious flaws, including their reliance on an unproven statistical model.

Pinpointing the Onset of Metastasis

June 24, 2015 1:43 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

Within the oncology community, a debate is raging about two controversial topics. The first is...

Eavesdropping on the body

June 24, 2015 11:00 am | by Tyler Irving, Univ. of Toronto | News | Comments

Biomedical engineers at the Univ. of Toronto have invented a new device that more quickly and...

New tech could find tiny RNA cancer beacons in blood

June 23, 2015 11:40 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Cancerous tumors cast off tiny telltale genetic molecules known as microRNAs and Univ. of...

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New technology looks into the eye and brings cells into focus

June 23, 2015 8:26 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Eye doctors soon could use computing power to help them see individual cells in the back of a patient’s eye, thanks to imaging technology developed by engineers at the Univ. of Illinois. Such detailed pictures of the cells, blood vessels and nerves at the back of the eye could enable earlier diagnosis and better treatment for degenerative eye and neurological diseases.

Seeing more deeply with laser light

June 22, 2015 8:47 am | by Susan Reiss, National Science Foundation | News | Comments

A human skull, on average, is about 0.3 in thick, or roughly the depth of the latest smartphone. Human skin, on the other hand, is about 0.1 in, or about three grains of salt, deep. While these dimensions are extremely thin, they still present major hurdles for any kind of imaging with laser light.

Uncovering a dynamic cortex

June 22, 2015 7:37 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have proven that the brain’s cortex doesn’t process specific tasks in highly specialized modules, showing that the cortex is, in fact, quite dynamic when sharing information. Previous studies of the brain have depicted the cortex as a patchwork of function-specific regions.

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Liquid Gold

June 18, 2015 12:30 pm | by George Karlin-Neumann, the Digital Biology Center at Bio-Rad Laboratories | Articles | Comments

Blood is the great aggregator of the body’s physiology. Many tumors slough off fragments of DNA into the bloodstream, which can be detected with a minimally invasive blood draw using advanced DNA tests—also known as a liquid biopsy. One of the challenges preventing liquid biopsy from becoming a clinical reality has been reliably finding the cancerous DNA in the vast sea of healthy DNA.

On the road to needle-free medicine

June 18, 2015 10:45 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Needle injections have been around since 1657 and remain a key delivery method for many drugs, including vaccines that have prevented countless illnesses. But for patients that require daily pricks or for people in remote locations, the syringe model has major drawbacks. An article in Chemical & Engineering News looks at potential alternatives, their successes and their roadblocks.

New tool on horizon for surgeons treating cancer patients

June 18, 2015 9:30 am | by Ron Walli, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Surgeons could know while their patients are still on the operating table if a tissue is cancerous, according to researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, a team led by ORNL's Vilmos Kertesz describes an automated droplet-based surface sampling probe that accomplishes in about 10 min what now routinely takes 20 to 30 min.

Heartbeat on a chip could improve pharmaceutical tests

June 17, 2015 7:57 am | by Gabe Cherry, Univ. of Michigan | Videos | Comments

A gravity-powered chip that can mimic a human heartbeat outside the body could advance pharmaceutical testing and open new possibilities in cell culture because it can mimic fundamental physical rhythms, according to the Univ. of Michigan researchers who developed it.

Two young researchers working at the MIPT Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics, Dmitry Fedyanin and Yury Stebunov, have developed an ultracompact highly sensitive nanomechanical sensor for analyzing the chemical composition of substances and detecting

Physicists develop ultrasensitive nanomechanical biosensor

June 9, 2015 12:42 pm | by Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology | News | Comments

Researchers have developed an ultracompact highly sensitive nanomechanical sensor for analyzing the chemical composition of substances and detecting biological objects, such as viral disease markers, which appear when the immune system responds to incurable or hard-to-cure diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, herpes, and many others. The sensor will enable doctors to identify tumor markers.

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Hyperbaric hope for fibromyalgia sufferers

June 3, 2015 8:10 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Women who suffer from fibromyalgia benefit from a treatment regimen in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, according to researchers at Rice Univ. and institutes in Israel. A clinical trial involving women diagnosed with fibromyalgia showed the painful condition improved in every one of the 48 who completed two months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Seamless closure of surgical incisions

June 2, 2015 12:33 pm | by American Friends of Tel Aviv Univ. | News | Comments

Some 30,000 years ago, prehistoric man wielded animal bones as needles to suture otherwise lethal wounds. This tactic has been used, and improved upon, over time and remains the basis of surgical procedures conducted today. Even with radical new surgical techniques, which rely on metallic and polymeric staples or chemical adhesives to seal incisions, infection and permanent scarring remain major concerns.

Microendoscope could eliminate unneeded biopsies

June 2, 2015 7:59 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

In a clinical study of patients in the U.S. and China, researchers found that a low-cost, portable, battery-powered microendoscope developed by Rice Univ. bioengineers could eventually eliminate the need for costly biopsies for many patients undergoing standard endoscopic screening for esophageal cancer.

Bioresorbable electronic stent could provide feedback, therapy

May 27, 2015 10:39 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Every year, an estimated half-million Americans undergo surgery to have a stent prop open a coronary artery narrowed by plaque. But sometimes the mesh tubes get clogged. Scientists report in ACS Nano a new kind of multi-tasking stent that could minimize the risks associated with the procedure. It can sense blood flow and temperature, store and transmit the information for analysis and can be absorbed by the body after it finishes its job.

Chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster, easier

May 27, 2015 8:06 am | by RJ Taylor, Univ. of Toronto | News | Comments

We live in fear of superbugs: infectious bacteria that don't respond to treatment by antibiotics, and can turn a routine hospital stay into a nightmare. A 2015 Health Canada report estimates that superbugs have already cost Canadians $1 billion, and are a "serious and growing issue." Each year two million people in the U.S. contract antibiotic-resistant infections, and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result.

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Chip placed under skin provides precise medicine

May 27, 2015 7:39 am | by EPFL | News | Comments

The future of medicine lies in ever greater precision, not only when it comes to diagnosis but also drug dosage. The blood work that medical staff rely on is generally a snapshot indicative of the moment the blood is drawn before it undergoes hours, or even days, of analysis. Several EPFL laboratories are working on devices allowing constant analysis over as long a period as possible.

Freshly squeezed vaccines

May 22, 2015 7:23 am | by Kevin Leonardi, Koch Institute | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have shown that they can use a microfluidic cell-squeezing device to introduce specific antigens inside the immune system’s B cells, providing a new approach to developing and implementing antigen-presenting cell vaccines.

Device captures rare circulating tumor cell clusters

May 21, 2015 7:41 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

The latest version of a microfluidic device for capturing rare circulating tumor cells is the first designed specifically to capture clusters of two or more cells, rather than single cells. The new device, called the Cluster-Chip, was developed by the same Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team that created previous microchip-based devices.

Dr. Stephen Milne demonstrates the device being used in a lab at the University of Strathclyde with Biomedical Engineering research associate Alejandra Aranceta Garza. Courtesy of Graeme Fleming

Performance-enhancing wearable hydration sensor provides immediate feedback

May 20, 2015 11:26 am | by University of Strathclyde | News | Comments

A wearable device will provide real-time data analysis of fluid loss during exercise to enhance the performance of fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes. The innovative transdermal sensor is a small device that attaches to the body to analyze electrolytes in sweat, with Bluetooth technology used to send the data back to a smartphone—allowing the user to rehydrate properly and maintain optimum performance

Modern medicine relies on optical fibers to cauterize unhealthy veins in a minimally invasive way. Now, Fraunhofer researchers have developed a laser processing method that facilitates automated series manufacture of these fibers at a much finer quality t

Using a new laser process to custom shape optical fibers

May 19, 2015 11:24 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Modern medicine relies on optical fibers to cauterize unhealthy veins in a minimally invasive way. Now, Fraunhofer researchers have developed a laser processing method that facilitates automated series manufacture of these fibers at a much finer quality than ever before. The scientists presented a fiber probe prototype manufactured using the new technique at the measurement fair SENSOR+TEST 2015 in Nuremberg.

The device holds a key advantage over traditional surgical tools by way of its ability to quickly transform from a bending, flexible instrument into a stiff and rigid one. Courtesy of Tommaso Ranzani

Octopus arm inspires future surgical tool

May 19, 2015 11:08 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A robotic arm that can bend, stretch and squeeze through cluttered environments has been created by a group of researchers from Italy. Inspired by the eight arms of an octopus, the device has been specifically designed for surgical operations to enable surgeons to easily access remote, confined regions of the body and, once there, manipulate soft organs without damaging them.

Designing better medical implants

May 19, 2015 7:51 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Biomedical devices that can be implanted in the body for drug delivery, tissue engineering or sensing can help improve treatment for many diseases. However, such devices are often susceptible to attack by the immune system, which can render them useless. A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has come up with a way to reduce that immune-system rejection.

Sounding out scaffolds for eardrum replacement

May 7, 2015 10:18 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has created tiny, complex scaffolds that mimic the intricate network of collagen fibers that form the human eardrum. It is hoped the scaffolds can be used to replace eardrums when they become severely damaged, reducing the need for patients to have their own tissue used in reconstruction surgery.

Thermometer-like device could help diagnose heart attacks

May 6, 2015 10:33 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Diagnosing a heart attack can require multiple tests using expensive equipment. But not everyone has access to such techniques, especially in remote or low-income areas. Now scientists have developed a simple, thermometer-like device that could help doctors diagnose heart attacks with minimal materials and cost. The report on their approach appears in Analytical Chemistry.

Practical gel that simply “clicks” for biomedical applications

May 1, 2015 10:17 am | by Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

If you opt to wear soft contact lenses, chances are you are using hydrogels on a daily basis. Made up of polymer chains that are able to absorb water, hydrogels used in contacts are flexible and allow oxygen to pass through the lenses, keeping eyes healthy. Hydrogels can be up to 99% water and as a result are similar in composition to human tissues.

Cellular sensing platform supports next-gen bioscience, biotech applications

May 1, 2015 8:25 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a novel cellular sensing platform that promises to expand the use of semiconductor technology in the development of next-generation bioscience and biotech applications. The research proposes and demonstrates the world’s first multi-modality cellular sensor arranged in a standard low-cost CMOS process.

Students use smarts for damaged hearts

April 30, 2015 8:23 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

A smartphone app created by students at Rice Univ. may someday serve as the ultimate remote to help control the flow of blood through human hearts. The Flowtastic team of Rice senior engineering students created a combined software-hardware interface that works with an Android app to monitor and even control a high-tech pump that resides in the aorta and regulates the flow of blood.

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