In 1922, Canadian scientists isolated insulin for the first time. Now, over 80 years later, our neighbors to the north are helping diabetics again by devising the cheapest way yet to produce insulin. This advance could significantly reduce the expense of treating the disease, which currently costs the US $132 billion dollars a year.
Unlike antibiotics, which kill many different types of bacteria, antiviral drugs for the most part need to target individual, specific viruses. A drug that attacks a multitude of viruses -- an antibiotic for viruses, effectively -- would be a significant boon for medicine. And a group of researchers led by UCLA scientists just may have discovered exactly that.
While the ECG machine, whose steady beep and jagged line TV medical dramas long ago planted into the popular imagination, remains the most common method for monitoring heart activity, a new device promises to bring that same reliability, but with a much higher resolution. And unlike the ECG, this new device doesn't measure the electrical impulses flowing through the heart, but the magnetic field created by it.
For years, scientists have attempted to construct new bacterial genomes from scratch, in the hope of genetically engineering a microbe that produces biofuels or drugs. Turns out, they've been doing it the hard way. A new study finds that editing existing genomes down to only the desired genes works far better than creating new genomes from the ground up.
As if having trouble conceiving a child wasn't painful enough, the current method of male fertility testing adds to that misery with multiple trips to the doctor, awkward moments in sterile rooms, and lengthy waits while lab technicians painstakingly count out individual sperm. A newly developed chip may change that, and provide a fast, at-home method for anyone to test their sperm count.
In 2006, Anthony Atala conducted a routine organ transplant. Well, the procedure was ordinary, but the organ being transplanted was anything but. The organ wasn't donated by another person, but grown in the lab by Atala and his colleagues. This feat landed Atala on our Best Of What's New 2006 list. Now, in a new TED talk, Atala goes into detail about his work, explaining how they grow the organs, and what he's working on now.
Simply put, pills are stupid. They don't know what's going on in your body when you take them, they don't know the optimal time to release their medication, and they certainly can't vary their own dosage levels on the fly. But thanks to the blinking E. coli created by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, that's all about to change.
For victims of strokes, serious face injuries, or degenerative muscular diseases, losing the ability to blink threatens to compound their condition with corneal ulcers, or even eventual blindness. To help save the eyesight of people with damaged facial muscles, surgeons at the University of California-Davis Medical Center have developed a bionic eyelid implant that restores blinking ability with an artificial muscle.
Ever since the first caveman ran through an adversary with a pointy stick, battlefield medicine has wrestled with the problem of blood loss from cutting and penetration. And while tourniquets can stop blood loss from an extremity, little can be done about large wounds to the chest and abdomen. That's where the TourniCath comes in.
Successfully navigating a complex maze is the basic lab test for intelligence. Rats can do it. Cuttlefish can do it. And now, inanimate droplets of oil can do it. By creating a pH gradient, scientists induced the an oil drop to navigate a maze, an advance with important applications in drug delivery, urban planning, and computer modeling.