Scientistsu, engineers, and doctors yearn for tiny sensors to record a vast array of events in the world's many hard-to-reach places. And so far, the tradeoff between battery life and size has prevented sensors from becoming small enough to fit unobtrusively in the human body, or inside very small machines. Now, University of Michigan researchers seem to have solved that puzzle by creating a chip that draws energy through solar power, heat, or movement.
The male birth control pill has lingered for years tantalizingly just out of reach, in the realm where rumor meets science. Recently developed hormonal and mechanical contraceptives never found an audience, serving only to highlight the absence of a male pill. Now, an examination of how smoking pot lowers fertility may make the male pill more than a persistent rumor.
Steroids seem so last-decade, now that gene therapy has caught the eye of athletes looking for a competitive edge. But scientists warn that gene therapy still represents a high-risk, experimental practice even within medicine, and that athletes could endanger their lives by giving it a try.
In a study that challenges the diagnosis of vegetative state, doctors found that the brain of a seemingly unconscious, vegetative man responded to yes-or-no questions in the same fashion as an alert, conscious person. This discovery not only complicates the medical definition of consciousness, but seems to call into question centuries of philosophy dealing with the nature of life and the self.
Google has quietly put millions of dollars' worth of resources into a biotech startup that creates targeted antibody drugs that single out diseased targets among healthy cells. The Internet search giant ultimately hopes that computer models alone could identify the best antibody for particular targets for testing in human clinical trials.
After stirring controversy in medical circles for more than a decade, the inflammatory findings that a routine childhood immunization is linked to gastrointestinal disease and autism has been formally retracted. The Lancet -- the esteemed British medical journal that published the findings -- has pulled the case study from its published record, its editor calling the paper "the most appalling catalog and litany of some the most terrible behavior in any research."
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.
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.