Whether wielded by Egyptian sun gods, Luke Skywalker, or your run of the mill solar-thermal power plant, light has the potential to do big things. Thanks to a breakthrough by UC Berkeley and the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, we can now make light do very small things as well. Researchers there have created the first nano-sized light mill motor that can be manipulated in both speed and direction by tuning the frequency of the light waves that serve as its power source.
Technology has long been helping elderly people who fall and can't get up to call for help -- there are alarm bracelets, emergency-button necklaces and wireless motion sensors, for a start.
Now a UK energy firm is working on a system that can passively detect when something is wrong -- Grandma won't even have to push a button.
When Oscar the cat lost both his hind paws in a farming accident, it was feared he'd have to trundle around in one of those wheeled-cat apparatuses. But Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic veterinary surgeon in Surrey, pioneered a groundbreaking technique instead, installing weight-bearing bone implants to create a bionic kitty.
A long-term study by Italian researchers shows that stem cells can help restore vision in eyes that have been blinded by burns. Moreover, the restored vision remained stable over 10 years.
Patients whose eyes have suffered heat or chemical burns typically experience severe damage to the cornea -- the thin, transparent front of the eye that refracts light and contributes most of the eye's focusing ability. The Italian technique uses stem cells taken from the limbus, the border between the cornea and the white of the eye, to cultivate a graft of healthy cells in a lab.
Spanish researchers have discovered a key component of infectious bacteria's battle plan, identifying a protein that tells bacteria in a colony to halt their forward march when antibiotics are present, waiting until the coast is clear before resuming the infection. The finding shows how bacteria outmaneuver antibiotics in the body to continue infecting an organ even after treatment, but it also pinpoints a vulnerability that researchers may be able to exploit to make antibiotics more effective.
We often think of our blood as specifically tasked with carrying oxygen to our brains and other organs, but it's also a living fluid, changing up its duties in response to various stimuli. To better understand -- and anticipate -- one aspect of this complicated biology, researchers have trained a neural network computer to model how platelets in the blood react to complicated conditions like those experienced during heart attack or stroke.
Brain-wave scanners might make it possible to communicate with people who are considered brain-dead, according to a new study reported in the Economist.
A couple of recent studies have shown that a small minority of vegetative patients might be more aware than they seem. Now, Damian Cruse, with the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK, thinks EEG machines will be able to help these patients communicate.
By Bjorn CareyPosted 06.18.2010 at 10:38 am 2 Comments
Physicians and veterinarians agree: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and is sick like a duck, it's best for it to be treated by someone trained to treat a duck.
Faced with such a scenario, physicians would be armed only with what they know about human biology. And that doesn't go very far, says Rika Maeshiro, the director of Public Health and Prevention Projects for the Association of American Medical Colleges.
A team of Australian chemistry students have strengthened the chemical bonds of insulin to make it stable even at warm temperatures -- a breakthrough that could simplify diabetes management. The finding could shed light on how insulin works, and eventually lead to insulin pills, rather than injections or pumps.