The seemingly subjective nature of pain always proves problematic for doctors, who have to use a woefully imprecise chart to gauge a patient's suffering. But by using a new interpretation of fMRI scans, doctors at King's College London have found a way to measure the brain's pain response in a quantitative way.
The screws used by doctors to repair broken bones and torn ligaments enable recovery from a wide range of injuries. Unfortunately, they also leave holes in bones, require secondary surgery for removal, and make going through airport security a real pain. But by crafting the screws from a special designed composite of polymer and mineral, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have managed to solve all those problems in one fell swoop.
Move over MRSA; a new battery of Gram-negative bacteria are quietly carving out big names for themselves, killing thousands of hospital patients each year as doctors look on with few effective tools to fight them. What’s worse, though these resistant strains are spreading, there are no effective antibacterial drugs coming down the pipeline, creating a gap between the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and our ability to fend them off.
For the past six months, fixing our flawed health care system has consumed our country's politics. In the course of the debate (including the health care summit underway today), one of the few things that both sides can agree on is the potential for new technologies to improve the system. And while technology can never do the job on its own, the money-saving potential is vast. Here we've gathered the most promising devices and processes--ranging from simple tweaks of doctors' most basic tools to advanced methods for drug production--that could save our bloated system billions.
Existing lab-on-a-chip designs can put the power of testing in the palm of your hand, but an upcoming model may represent the cheapest and most colorful one yet. A Harvard University chemist has created a prototype "chip" technology out of paper that could help diagnose HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases for just a penny each time, according to CNN.
Neurologists love picking the brain, but getting in there can be both difficult and dangerous, and once inside it's tough to make the brain do exactly what you want. But researchers at medical device maker Medtronic are developing a neural implant that uses light to manipulate the neurons in the brain in a far more controlled fashion than current electrical therapies. All they need to do is genetically tamper with your brain first; no big deal.
Parents across the Lone Star State are in an uproar after the Texas Tribune found that the Department of State Health Services covered up the donation of blood samples from 800 newborn babies to a forensic database created by the US military. Although the blood was taken as part of routine disease screening, the state gave the blood away without the consent of the parents, to help the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory create a mitochondrial DNA database.
Dengue fever, a painful and potentially deadly virus that causes joint pain extreme enough to earn the nickname "bonecrusher disease", infects upwards of 100 million people every year. With no vaccine and no cure, there is little anyone can do to protect the 2.5 billion people currently at risk for infection. But University of California, Irvine professor Anthony James believes he can turn the very mosquitoes that spread the virus into the vector for prevention.
Scorpion venom and intense pain generally go hand in hand, but a group of researchers at Tel Aviv University are rethinking that relationship, using a better understanding of the peptide toxins found in scorpions' pain-inducing payloads to create a breed of non-addictive, side effect-free painkillers.
Thirty-two years after the birth of the world's first test-tube baby, artificial conception has never been more popular or successful. Today, up to 3 percent of infants born in the U.S. owe their existence to assisted reproductive technology, or ART. The majority is overwhelmingly healthy, but new research from scientists at Temple University and other institutions suggests the technique is not without its long-term risks.