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Pocket-sized sensor gives instant fat burning updates

July 25, 2013 10:54 am | News | Comments

Fitness fanatics may soon be able to gauge if their hard work is paying off without the need for weighing scales thanks to a new device that can instantly tell if your body is burning fat. The portable, pocket-sized sensor, produced by a group of researchers in Japan, works by measuring increased levels of acetone on the breath—a good indicator of when the body has begun to break down fat.

Fluxion Biosciences receives 2013 R&D 100 Award for circulating tumor cell system

July 24, 2013 1:23 pm | News | Comments

Fluxion Biosciences announced that it has won a 2013 R&D 100 Award for its IsoFlux system. The R&D 100 Award places the state-of-the-art IsoFlux system in the prestigious company of previous winners such as liquid crystal displays and the anticancer drug Taxol.

Controlling genes with light

July 23, 2013 7:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Although human cells have an estimated 20,000 genes, only a fraction of those are turned on at any given time, depending on the cell’s needs. To find out what those genes are doing, researchers need tools that can manipulate their status on short timescales. That is now possible, thanks to a new technology that can rapidly start or halt the expression of any gene of interest simply by shining light on the cells.

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Injectable “smart sponge” holds promise for controlled drug delivery

July 22, 2013 10:16 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a drug delivery technique for diabetes treatment in which a sponge-like material surrounds an insulin core. The sponge expands and contracts in response to blood sugar levels to release insulin as needed. The technique could also be used for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells.

Bacteriophages battle superbugs

July 18, 2013 4:11 pm | News | Comments

Microbiologists in France are reinvigorating a way of battling C. difficile infections that they hope will help overcome the growing problem of antibiotic resistant superbugs in hospitals. Using a model human colon, the researchers showed that the administration of a specific bacteriophage significantly reduced toxins and the number of C. difficile cells produced without significantly affecting the other members of the gut microbiota.

New way to target an old foe: malaria

July 18, 2013 3:57 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Although malaria has been eradicated in many countries, including the United States, it still infects more than 200 million people worldwide, killing nearly a million every year. In a major step toward reducing that number, a team led by MIT researchers has now developed a way to grow liver tissue that can support the liver stage of the life cycle of the two most common species of malaria.

Study: Electronic health records help fight vaccine-preventable diseases

July 18, 2013 2:11 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Columbia Univ. School of Nursing have found that electronic health record (EHR) system to automate the immunization data shared between health providers and public health agencies enables physicians to assist individual patients faster and more effectively, while also providing more immediate, cohesive community data to the agencies tasked with promoting public health.

Information in brain cells’ electrical activity combines three elements

July 18, 2013 8:58 am | News | Comments

The electrical activity of neurons contains a mixture of stored memories, environmental circumstances, and current state of mind, scientists have found in a study of laboratory rats. The research, which monitored neuronal electrical activity in the hippocampus, relied on the concept of “cross-episode retrieval”, in which brain activity is stimulated in a given circumstance that was also activated in a previous, distinctive experience.

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"Intelligent knife" tells surgeon which tissue is cancerous

July 17, 2013 3:39 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have developed an "intelligent knife" that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not. In the first study to test the invention in the operating theatre, the "iKnife" diagnosed tissue samples from 91 patients with 100% accuracy, instantly providing information that normally takes up to half an hour to reveal using laboratory tests.

Injectable “smart sponge” hold promise for controlled drug delivery

July 17, 2013 10:18 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a drug delivery technique for diabetes treatment in which a sponge-like material surrounds an insulin core. The sponge expands and contracts in response to blood sugar levels to release insulin as needed. The technique could also be used for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells.

Steering stem cells with magnets

July 16, 2013 2:43 pm | News | Comments

By feeding stem cells tiny particles made of magnetized iron oxide, scientists at Emory Univ. and Georgia Tech have used magnets to attract the cells to a particular location in the body after intravenous injection. The method could become a tool for directing stem cells’ healing powers to treat conditions such as heart disease or vascular disease.

High-tech gadgets monitor seniors' safety at home

July 15, 2013 9:51 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Research is growing with high-tech gadgets that promise new safety nets for seniors determined to live on their own for as long as possible. Motion sensors on the wall and a monitor under the mattress one day might automatically alert loved ones to early signs of trouble well before an elderly loved one gets sick or suffers a fall.

Orthocare Innovations wins 2013 R&D 100 Award

July 11, 2013 9:25 am | News | Comments

Orthocare Innovations has received a 2013 R&D 100 Award for its Magellan microprocessor foot ankle system. Magellan brings a novel approach to lower limb prosthetics by mimicking key features of the human ankle that are essential to normal gait. Magellan offers active ankle function using microprocessor computer control combined with advanced, microhydraulic technology.

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The story behind the 3-D-printed splint that saved an infant’s life

July 11, 2013 7:57 am | News | Comments

Half a millennium after Johannes Gutenberg printed the Bible, researchers printed a 3-D splint that saved the life of an infant born with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a birth defect that causes the airway to collapse. While similar surgeries have been performed using tissue donations and windpipes created from stem cells, this is the first time 3-D printing has been used to treat tracheobronchomalacia—at least in a human.

Nanofiber mesh fights cancerous tumors

July 3, 2013 9:20 am | News | Comments

A research team at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan has developed a new nanofiber mesh which is capable of simultaneously performing thermotherapy and chemotherapy of tumors. Using this new mesh, the team succeeded in efficiently inducing natural death of epithelial cancer cells.

Hospitals seek high-tech help for hand hygiene

June 28, 2013 12:19 pm | by Jim Salter, Associated Press | News | Comments

Hospitals have fretted for years over how to make sure doctors, nurses and staff keep their hands clean, but with only limited success. Now, some are turning to technology—beepers, buzzers, lights and tracking systems that remind workers to sanitize, and chart those who don't.

Researchers put chemistry lab on paper to detect low-quality medicine

June 28, 2013 9:38 am | News | Comments

Marya Lieberman, assoc. prof. of chemistry and biochemistry at the Univ. of Notre Dame, and her collaborators have recently published results that show the effectiveness of an inexpensive paper test card that could fundamentally change the balance of power between pharmaceutical buyers and sellers in the developing world.

Spinach and nanodiamond?

June 25, 2013 7:10 am | News | Comments

Comic book hero Popeye swears by it. And so do generations of parents who “spoil” their children with spinach. But too much iron content in the blood can indicate acute inflammatory responses, which makes it an important medical diagnostic agent. Using nanoscale diamonds which feature defects, researchers in Europe have developed a new, sensitive biosensor for determination of iron content.

Device detects disease with a drop of blood

June 24, 2013 9:47 am | News | Comments

A research team at New Jersey Institute of Technology have created a carbon nanotube-based device to noninvasively and quickly detect mobile single cells with the potential to maintain a high degree of spatial resolution. This prototype lab-on-a-chip could someday enable a physician to detect disease or virus from just one drop of liquid, including blood.

Doctors make progress toward 'artificial pancreas'

June 22, 2013 11:02 am | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Doctors are reporting a major step toward an "artificial pancreas," a device that would constantly monitor blood sugar in people with diabetes and automatically supply insulin as needed. A key component of such a system—an insulin pump programmed to shut down if blood-sugar dips too low while people are sleeping—worked as intended in a three-month study of 247 patients.

Light, nanoprobes detect early signs of infection

June 21, 2013 8:00 am | News | Comments

Duke Univ. biomedical engineers and genome researchers have developed a proof-of-principle approach using light to detect infections before patients show symptoms. The approach was demonstrated in human samples, and researchers are now developing the technique for placement on a chip, which could provide fast, simple and reliable information about a patient. A diagnostic device based on this chip also could be made portable.

Seeing the human pulse

June 20, 2013 11:01 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new algorithm that can accurately measure the heart rates of people depicted in ordinary digital video by analyzing imperceptibly small head movements that accompany the rush of blood caused by the heart’s contractions.

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.

To ease shortage of organs, grow them in a lab?

June 17, 2013 9:13 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Growing lungs and other organs for transplant is still in the future, but scientists are working toward that goal. In North Carolina, a 3-D printer builds prototype kidneys. In several labs, scientists study how to build on the internal scaffolding of hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys of people and pigs to make custom-made implants. Solid organs like lungs or livers are still too difficult, but simpler body parts are now being made.

Testing method promising for spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis

June 14, 2013 7:49 am | News | Comments

A medical test previously developed to measure a toxin found in tobacco smokers has been adapted to measure the same toxin in people suffering from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, offering a potential tool to reduce symptoms. The toxin, called acrolein, is produced in the body after nerve cells are injured, triggering a cascade of biochemical events thought to worsen the injury's severity.

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