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.
A daily shot is still the most effective, if most uncomfortable, form of treatment for many people with a chronic illness. Most pills work too slowly to be of much use for, say, someone with diabetes. But one company is planning a solution: packing ultrasound tech into a pill to orally deliver drugs as efficiently as a shot.
An interesting story in the New York Times today explores the ease with which noninvasive prenatal diagnostics can now determine paternity, even when the pregnancy is only eight or nine weeks old. Multiple companies are now offering such tests, which require only blood samples from the mother and from the potential father to determine paternity long before the pregnancy culminates.
While serving as an army medic during Operation Desert Storm, Richard Schwartz became all too familiar with gunshot wounds, particularly shots to the pelvis and upper legs. Enemies would target that region because body armor doesn’t always cover it. Conventional tourniquets don’t work around the abdomen—it’s impossible to tie them tight enough to cut off blood flow from the aorta. Soldiers with “junctional hemorrhages” may have only a few minutes before they bleed to death.
Think a trip to the pharmacy is overwhelming? Try this: One million billion billion billion billion billion billion. That’s a 1 with 60 zeroes after it. That’s the number of potential new medicines that could still be made, according to a new study. It may be more than the number of stars in the universe.
By Susan Du
Posted 06.05.2012 at 4:04 pm 8 Comments
Only under special circumstances. “I mean, it doesn’t just happen to any Joe Schmo walking down the street holding his urine too long,” says Scott Eggener, a urologist at the University of Chicago. “But for someone who has had major surgery or cancer or had radiation in his bladder, or whose bladder had been removed and we make them a new bladder out of intestine, then yes—those are situations where the bladder can rupture.”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes, and a new algorithm will test that formula by predicting what will be wrong with a patient in the future, based on his or her past — and that of everyone else.
We've seen snake robots and, of course, tons of surgery robots (including the weird lamprey-bot), but Dr. Michael Argenziano, the Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center in New York, says we'll soon have fully untethered snake-type robots that will crawl through the human body, assisting with all kinds of fixes and maintenance.
It’s no cure, but it could mark a significant victory in the fight against HIV. A 17-member advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration has endorsed an over-the-counter HIV test that would allow consumers to test themselves for the AIDS-causing virus in the privacy of their own homes in just 20 minutes.
Some seizures briefly incapacitate, while other seizures can be deadly. Knowing the difference is obviously of grave importance, but figuring out which is which is difficult. So a team of MIT Media Lab researchers have developed a wristband that can tell the difference between the more benign breed of seizure and the one that might kill you, and may even be able to predict seizures before they strike.
There are five Microsoft Kinects set up all around the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, but they're not for playing games (or any of the other stuff the Kinect can do with an Xbox). They're monitoring the students, looking for signs of unusual behavior that might indicate a potential autism spectrum disorder.
A project from a couple of Masters students in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University, FlexLegs is sort of like a cross between crutches and Oscar Pistorius's super-fast lower-leg prostheses. They promise to allow those with lower leg injuries to walk, run, tackle steps, and more. Say the creators: "If we can help a person with no legs to run, why can’t we help a person with an injured leg to walk?"
South Korea is saying this morning that its customs officials are stepping up their inspections targeting smuggled capsules that contain the powdered flesh of dead human babies. How’s that for something to wash down with your third cup of coffee this morning?
Big news on the pharma front today: for the first time the U.S. Federal Drug Administration has approved a drug for humans that was produced in a genetically engineered plant cell. The approval could open the door to a range of biologic drugs that are generated in plant cells and then transferred to human patients.
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.