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New statistical tools being developed for mining cancer data

November 13, 2013 9:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ., Baylor College of Medicine and the Univ. of Texas at Austin are working together to create new statistical tools that can find clues about cancer that are hidden like needles in enormous haystacks of raw data.

Cause of genetic disorder found in “dark matter” of DNA

November 11, 2013 10:16 am | News | Comments

For the first time, scientists have used new technology which analyzes the whole genome to find the cause of a genetic disease in what was previously referred to as “junk DNA”. This genomic “dark matter” does not contain genes and accounts for 99% of the human genome. Instead, it is responsible for making sure that genes are “switched on” at the right time and in the right part of the body.

Breakthrough in retinal implants expected to restore sight to the blind

November 8, 2013 12:00 pm | News | Comments

Retinal implants have not lived up to their potential, argues a joint University of Arizona-German research team, until now.                                             

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Quantity, not just quality, in new brain scan method

November 8, 2013 12:00 pm | News | Comments

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to quantify brain tissue volume, a critical measurement of the progression of multiple sclerosis and other diseases.                                 

Discovery of HIV 'invisibility cloak' reveals new treatment opportunities

November 8, 2013 7:00 am | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a molecular invisibility cloak that enables HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to hide inside cells of the body without triggering the body's natural defence systems. The findings could lead to new treatments and help to improve existing therapies for HIV infection.

Surgeons describe new ligament in the human knee

November 8, 2013 7:00 am | News | Comments

Two knee surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have provided the first full anatomical description of a previously enigmatic ligament in the human knee. The ligament appears to play an important role in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

A bio patch that can regrow bone

November 7, 2013 12:06 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch to regenerate missing or damaged bone by putting DNA into a nano-sized particle that delivers bone-producing instructions directly into cells. The bone-regeneration kit relies on a collagen platform seeded with particles containing the genes needed for producing bone. 

‘Tumor-on-a-chip’ technology offers new direction

November 7, 2013 10:59 am | News | Comments

A two-year collaboration between the Chan and the Rocheleau labs at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering has led to the development of a new microfluidics screening platform that can accurately predict the way nanoparticles will behave in a living body.

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Strep scorecard might help tell if doctor needed

November 4, 2013 5:17 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Debating whether to seek a strep test for that sore throat? One day there could be a software application for that: Researchers are developing a home scorecard that aims to prevent thousands of unnecessary trips to the doctor for this common complaint. More than 12 million Americans make doctors' visits for a sore throat every year. Usually the culprit is a virus that they just have to wait out with a little care.

Computer-aided image analysis may offer second opinion in breast tumor diagnosis

November 4, 2013 2:19 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Chicago are developing computer-aided diagnosis and quantitative image analysis methods for mammograms, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance images to identify specific tumor characteristics, including size, shape and sharpness

Acoustic diode may lead to brighter, clearer ultrasound images

November 1, 2013 11:47 am | News | Comments

Most people know about ultrasound through its role in prenatal imaging: those grainy, grey outlines of junior constructed from reflected sound waves. A new technology called an "acoustic diode” that would transmit sound in one direction may dramatically improve future ultrasound images by changing the way sound waves are transmitted.

Promising new therapy in a smaller package

October 31, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

Microbeam radiation therapy provides tremendous promise for cancer patients through its ability to destroy tumor cells while protecting surrounding healthy tissue. Yet research into its clinical use has been limited by the sheer size of the technology required to generate the beams. Until now.

How a metamaterial might improve a depression treatment

October 30, 2013 7:40 am | News | Comments

A brain stimulation technique that is used to treat tough cases of depression could be considerably improved with a new headpiece designed by Univ. of Michigan engineers. Computer simulations showed that the headpiece—a square array of 64 circular metallic coils—could one day help researchers and doctors hit finer targets in the brain that are twice as deep as they can reach today, and without causing pain.

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Super-thin membranes clear the way for chip-sized pumps

October 29, 2013 8:17 am | News | Comments

The ability to shrink laboratory-scale processes to automated chip-sized systems would revolutionize biotechnology and medicine. One of the challenges of lab-on-a-chip technology is the need for miniaturized pumps to move solutions through microchannels. A super-thin silicon membrane developed at the Univ. of Rochester could now make it possible to shrink the power source, paving the way for diagnostic devices the size of a credit card.

Startup creates drug toxicity app

October 29, 2013 7:47 am | Videos | Comments

Accurate and rapid testing for drug toxicity just became easier, thanks to a half-dozen Rice Univ. student interns working at Houston-based startup Nano3D Biosciences (n3D). The bioengineering and nanoscale physics students just wrapped up a year-long effort to aid the company in developing a new method for conducting high-throughput, in vitro cytotoxicity assays.

“Anklebot” helps determine ankle stiffness

October 25, 2013 10:58 am | News | Comments

The act of walking is seldom given a second thought, but upon closer inspection locomotion is less straightforward. In particular, the ankle is an anatomical jumble, and its role in maintaining stability and motion has not been well characterized. A device called the “Anklebot” could help matters by measuring the stiffness of the ankle in various directions.

Imaging breast cancer with light

October 24, 2013 2:51 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in The Netherlands have recently unveiled their “photoacoustic mammoscope,” a new device that could someday be used for routine breast cancer screenings. Instead of x-rays, which are used in traditional mammography, the photoacoustic breast mammoscope uses a combination of infrared light and ultrasound to create a 3-D map of the breast.

London uses van with x-ray machine to find TB

October 23, 2013 7:41 pm | by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Famed for its historic sites, its double-decker buses and its West End shows, London now has a more dubious distinction: Britain's public health agency says it has become the tuberculosis capital of Western Europe. In response, health officials are taking to the streets in an effort to stop the spread of the infectious lung disease.

Tests suggest baby born with HIV may be cured

October 23, 2013 5:38 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus—a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated. The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom's blood.

Paper-based device could bring medical testing to remote locales

October 23, 2013 9:48 am | News | Comments

In remote regions of the world where electricity is hard to come by and scientific instruments are even scarcer, conducting medical tests at a doctor’s office or medical laboratory is rarely an option. Scientists are now reporting progress toward an inexpensive point-of-care, paper-based device to fill that void with no electronics required.

"Killer apps" that could keep you healthy

October 22, 2013 12:38 pm | News | Comments

For those wanting to keep their distance from health threats like E. coli-contaminated lettuce or the flu, there are two upcoming apps for that. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory hosted a competition last summer where graduate students used Android development tools and web-based analytics to design mobile apps that could help fight the threats of food-related illnesses and the flu.

Optical technology helps surgeons see cancer tissue

October 22, 2013 8:21 am | News | Comments

OnTarget Laboratories LLC has teamed with partners in academia to test a novel optical imaging technology developed at Purdue Univ. that could help surgeons see cancer tissue during surgery. The technology is based on the over-expression of specific receptors on solid cancerous tumors and enables illumination of the tumor tissue during surgery.

Biological clock found that can measure age of most human tissues

October 21, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

Everyone grows older, but scientists don't really understand why. Now a Univ. of California, Los Angeles study has uncovered a biological clock embedded in our genomes that may shed light on why our bodies age and how we can slow the process.

Restoring surgeons’ sense of touch during minimally invasive surgeries

October 16, 2013 10:11 am | by David Salisbury, Vanderbilt Univ. | News | Comments

During open surgery, doctors rely on their sense of touch to identify anatomical structures: a procedure they call palpation. But this practice is not possible in minimally invasive surgery where surgeons work with small, specialized tools and miniature cameras. A small, wireless capsule has been developed that can restore the sense of touch that surgeons are losing as they shift increasingly from open to minimally invasive surgery.

Wyss Institute, AstraZeneca announce collaboration on organs-on-chips for drug safety testing

October 16, 2013 9:13 am | News | Comments

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Univ. and AstraZeneca have announced a collaboration that will leverage the Institute's organs-on-chips technologies to better predict safety of drugs in humans. Human organs-on-chips are composed of a clear, flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick, and contain hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells.

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