Despite the ethical and political differences they incite, stem cells are still a miraculous medicine, potentially able to change into whatever a sick body needs them to be. If we could get around the controversies behind them, theoretically, the problems would be gone.
The U.S. Army tallied 38 confirmed or suspected suicides among its ranks last month--that’s among both active- and non-active-duty members including the Army National Guard and Army Reserve--the highest rate of suicide within the branch yet observed, further underscoring a mental health crisis that the services have yet to get a handle on. But help may be coming in an unlikely form: nasal spray.
Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or Creutzfeld-Jacobs are tough to diagnose. Outward symptoms can obviously be an indicator, but symptoms for many neuro-disorders overlap while protein biomarkers for each illness, called amyloids, are difficult to distinguish between.
A simple blood test that offers early detection of cancer in the human body has long eluded medical researchers, but a team at UCLA is getting closer. By blending an ultra-fast camera and a powerful optical microscope with software that can process the data they produce at extremely high speeds, the team hopes it can spot circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that have broken away from cancerous tumors in blood samples, potentially making early cancer detection as simple as taking a blood draw.
What you might not expect when you’re expecting: a company that wants to 3-D print a statuette of your unborn child. Japanese engineering outfit Fasotec will gladly take an MRI scan of an expecting mother’s fetus and using its BioTexture modeling software to capture 3-D data related to human tissues convert that scan into a CAD file, then print it up in resin. It’s called the “Shape of Angel” service (what else?), and it will only set you back roughly $1,250.
No matter how fast pharmaceutical companies can churn out drugs to prevent or cure illnesses, health insurance doesn't cover the cost of hiring a person to follow you around and remind you to take your meds. So the FDA has approved a pill that can do it on its own by monitoring your insides and relaying the information back to a healthcare provider.
In a crowded urban area like New York City, it’s impossible to keep your distance from people who may be sick. If you’ve left your apartment--and maybe even if you haven’t--there’s a decent chance you’ve been around someone who is under the weather and there’s really no way you could know it.
Despite being one of the most alien-looking things on Earth, the mechanism jellyfish use to swim is similar in some ways to the beating human heart. That inspired researchers to build a sort of cyborg jellyfish from the ground up, using heart muscle cells from a rat and silicone polymer. And it's actually only a little more odd-looking than a regular jelly.
To conduct experiments, researchers can change a variable in an organism and watch the results unfold. But life is messy, and it's difficult to understand the underlying processes that explain the data. Digitizing the process could help, and now we're starting small: researchers have successfully made a computer model of Mycoplasma genitalium, the world's tiniest free-living bacterium.
For humans, few things are as ubiquitous as the common cold. We catch it more than any other infectious disease and it's been with us as about as long as we've existed. But while there isn't a cure, our technology is constantly improving, and now in our corner we have Australia's fastest supercomputer helping to work out a solution.
Something like 90 percent of melanomas--the most serious kind of skin cancer--are visible to the naked eye, no MRI, CT scan, or other kind of sophisticated scanning or imaging necessary. So why bother getting screened at a clinic? The University of Michigan has created an iPhone app that allows you to inspect yourself for skin cancer. All you have to do is take 23 nude pictures of yourself with your smartphone.
In a milestone announcement, today the FDA approved the use of Truvada, the first drug to be used for HIV prevention in the 30-plus year battle against the virus. To be used as part of safe sex practices and continued testing, the drug, which was first approved in 2004, has already shown promise in preventing infection, with some figures placing protection rates as high as 90 percent.
In an effort to outfox antibiotic resistance, a team of researchers based out of U.C. Berkeley--and including none other than Nobel laureate Steven Chu--want to build a wrecking ball that tears down bacterial cities. It’s not quite there yet, but in a paper released today the research group announced that via a new imaging technique it has for the first time revealed the structure of these biofilms -- and where they are vulnerable to attack.
In another leap forward for regenerative/transplant medicine, an international team of surgeons working in Russia have for the first time transplanted completely synthetic pieces of larynx into two patients in procedures that mark the first steps toward creating and transplanting an entire larynx from scratch.
When a person stops breathing--be it from an obstruction in the airway or something like acute lung failure--the clock is decidedly ticking. Deprived of oxygen for long enough, a person can go into cardiac arrest. Brain damage sets in. Without oxygen, things go south pretty quickly. So a team of researchers at Boston Children’s hospital has designed a kind of injectable oxygen that can be quickly introduced to a person’s bloodstream to oxygenate the blood, buying paramedics or other medical personnel perhaps as much as half an hour to remedy an oxygen flow problem.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.