Researchers at Pompeu Fabra University (Spain) have created a high resolution atlas of the heart with 3D images taken from 138 people. The study demonstrates that an average image of an organ along with its variations can be obtained for the purposes of comparing individual cases and differentiating healthy forms from pathologies.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a group of progenitor cells in the inner ear that can become the sensory hair cells and adjacent supporting cells that enable hearing. Studying these progenitor cells could someday lead to discoveries that help millions of Americans suffering from hearing loss due to damaged or impaired sensory hair cells.
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.
Macrophages—literally, “big eaters”—are a big part of the body’s immune system response. These cells find and engulf invaders, or form a wall around the foreign object. Unfortunately, macrophages also eat helpful foreigners, including nanoparticles. In an effort to clear this long-standing hurdle, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a “passport” that could be attached to therapeutic particles and devices, tricking macrophages into leaving them alone.
An international team of scientists has discovered how an important natural antibiotic called dermcidin, produced by our skin when we sweat, is a highly efficient tool to fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous bugs. Their results could contribute to the development of new antibiotics that control multi-resistant bacteria.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced that its support for a decade of revolutionary research has contributed to the creation of the first-ever retinal prosthesis, or bionic eye, to be approved in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for blind individuals with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa. The artificial retina, dubbed the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, a previous R&D 100 winner, can partially restore the sight of blind individuals after surgical implantation.
You may not be a disease detective, but now you can play one at home. The nation's public health agency has released a free app for the iPad called "Solve the Outbreak." It allows users to run through fictional outbreaks and make decisions: Do you quarantine the village? Talk to people who are sick?
Researchers from North Carolina State University have, for the first time, successfully coated polymer implants with a bioactive film. The discovery should improve the success rate of such implants. The polymer used in these implants, called PEEK, does not bond well with bone or other tissues in the body. This can result in the implant rubbing against surrounding tissues, which can lead to medical complications and the need for additional surgeries.
The Lycurgus cup was created by the Romans in 400 A.D. Made of a dichroic glass, the famous cup exhibits different colors depending on whether or not light is passing through it; red when lit from behind and green when lit from in front. It is also the origin of inspiration for all contemporary nanoplasmonics research—the study of optical phenomena in the nanoscale vicinity of metal surfaces. Scientists have recently used these optical characteristics to create a novel, ultra-sensitive tool for chemical, DNA, and protein analysis.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reveals details of living tissues, diseased organs and tumors inside the body without x-rays or surgery. What if the same technology could peer down to the level of atoms? Physicists in New York and Germany have worked together to make this type of nanoscale MRI possible. To do this, researchers used the tiny imperfections in diamond crystals known as nitrogen-vacancy centers.
Calcium plays a major role in orchestrating normal heart pump function. The condition known as diastolic heart failure occurs when the calcium signaling process is slowed, preventing the heart from relaxing. Scientists in Minnesota have utilized molecular genetic engineering to optimize heart performance in models of diastolic heart failure by creating an optimized protein that can aid in high-speed relaxation similar to fast twitching muscles.
Low-energy radiation particles, known as beta particles, are often used in radiation treatments for cancer patients. For years, scientists have been studying how to use alpha particles, which are far higher in energy, for the same treatments. The challenge has been finding ways to focus these powerful particles on target cancers without hurting other tissues. A collaboration of scientists have recently created a gold nanoparticle that can transport powerful alpha particles directly to tumors for treatment.
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.
Using modern technology, a Virginia museum is working to unwrap the story behind one of the earliest surviving Egyptian mummies. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond partnered this week with a medical imaging center to complete a CT scan on Tjeby, its 4,000-year-old mummy, in hopes of piecing together more information about the mummy itself and better understanding the early history of the mummification process.
The connection between poor sleep, memory loss and brain deterioration as we grow older has been elusive. But for the first time, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a link between these hallmark maladies of old age. Their discovery opens the door to boosting the quality of sleep in elderly people to improve memory.
A new software tool, developed at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, streamlines the detection of disease-causing genetic changes through more sensitive detection methods and by automatically correcting for variations that reduce the accuracy of results in conventional software. The software, called ParseCNV, is freely available to the scientific-academic community.
Scientists in Germany and Switzerland have developed an implant that is able to genetically modify specific nerve cells, control them with light stimuli, and measure their electrical activity all at the same time. This new tool relies on an innovative genetic technique that forces nerve cells to change their activity by shining light of different colors onto them.
The development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—a tool used to gauge real-time brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow—has given researchers the opportunity to try to answer various questions about the brain and mind. But some are not convinced of its usefulness, and a new report published by Association for Psychological Science takes stock of what fMRI has actually accomplished.
Health care providers and hospitals are being offered up to $27 billion in federal incentives to use electronic health records (EHRs) in ways that demonstrably improve the quality of care. The incentives are based, in part, on the ability to electronically report clinical quality measures. A new study has found ways in which quality measurement from EHRs—which are primarily designed for documentation of clinical care for individual patients—can be improved
Physicians may soon have a better alternative to endoscopy for screening patients for Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition usually caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed an imaging system enclosed in a capsule about the size of a multivitamin pill that creates detailed, microscopic images of the esophageal wall.
Doctors may soon be using a system in the operating room that recognizes hand gestures as commands to tell a computer to browse and display medical images of the patient during a surgery. Purdue University researchers are creating a system that uses depth-sensing cameras and specialized algorithms to recognize hand gestures as commands to manipulate MRI images on a large display.
To understand the progression of complex diseases such as cancer, scientists have had to tease out the interactions between cells at progressively finer scales—from the behavior of a single tumor cell in the body on down to the activity of that cell’s inner machinery. To foster such discoveries, mechanical engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are designing tools to image and analyze cellular dynamics at the micro- and nanoscale.
Researchers used electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain to release an opiate-like substance that's considered one of the body's most powerful painkillers. The findings expand on previous work done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the City University of New York where researchers delivered electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients, and found a decrease in the intensity and pain of their headache attacks.
Investigators at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a way to directly image biological structures at their most fundamental level and in their natural habitats. Their newly developed in situ molecular microscopy provides a gateway to imaging dynamic systems in structural biology
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have developed a way to alter the function of RNA in living cells by designing molecules that recognize and disable RNA targets. As a proof of principle, the team designed a molecule that disabled the RNA causing myotonic dystrophy. This small molecule is cell-permeable, offering benefits over traditional methods of targeting RNAs for degradation.