Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a nanopore sensor to study the aggregation of tau and tubulin protein molecules. These proteins, and specifically their aggregation in the brain, are implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This nanopore technology aims to allow researchers to study the effects of different environmental conditions, including pH, salt concentration, and temperature, on how these proteins aggregate. The researchers hope that their advancement can help to understand the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases and potentially identify new opportunities for treatment. An...Read More

January 30th, 2023 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a smart walking stick that can assist blind or visually impaired people to navigate their environment, from grocery shopping to finding a seat in a busy café. The system employs cameras to visualize the environment and items within it, such as products in a supermarket, and uses AI to identify objects and provide guidance for the user. The stick can provide verbal and haptic prompts to help the user to move closer to a desired product on a supermarket shelf,...Read More
Fun and durable, the FluidStance balance board deck can be found at many offices these days as working professionals with desk jobs look for ways to stay active and healthy. Long hours slumped over at a desk means that your muscles remain inactive for long periods of time - a running hypothesis is that long periods of inactivity lead to issues with glucose regulation, as muscles cease their regular glucose uptake and the body adapts to a sedentary lifestyle.  FluidStance’s balance board, Level, provides an engaging alternative to this by...Read More

January 20th, 2023 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed centimeter-scale biobots that combine soft materials, mouse muscle tissue, and wireless electronic components. The tiny devices can be controlled remotely through optogenetics. The muscle within the devices forms an optogenetic actuator and creates movement when exposed to light. The researchers can control this movement remotely by activating on-board micro-LEDs wirelessly, which then stimulate the muscle actuators to propel the biobot. The technology could be used in the future to perform tasks within the body, such as surgical applications or drug...Read More

January 19th, 2023 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have developed artificial neurons that demonstrate 15 of the 20 characteristics of biological neural cells and can communicate with natural neurons in the body. The researchers call their device the "conductance-based organic electrochemical neuron," or c-OECN, and it is based on materials that can conduct a negative charge, including organic electrochemical transistors and n-type conducting polymers. By printing thousands of such transistors on a flexible substrate, the researchers have been able to create artificial neurons. The device uses ions to control the flow of...Read More

January 18th, 2023 by Conn Hastings
A team of researchers at the Harvard Wyss Institute have developed a soft, hydrogel scaffold that can function as a living electrode for brain-computer interface applications. The researchers used electrically conductive materials and created a porous and flexible scaffold using a freeze-drying process. They then seeded the scaffold with human neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and cultured the scaffolds for extended periods, prompting the cells to differentiate into a variety of neurons and astrocytes. The researchers hope that the resulting ‘living electrode’ could be useful for brain-computer interfaces, as its soft...Read More

January 6th, 2023 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the National Eye Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, have created a method to 3D bioprint eye tissue that forms the outer blood-retina barrier. This tissue supports the photoreceptors in the retina and is implicated in the initiation of age-related macular degeneration. The outer blood-retina barrier is the interface of the retina and the choroid, including Bruch's membrane and the choriocapillaris. Image credit: National Eye Institute. The researchers combined different cell types, which are primarily derived from patient stem cells, in a hydrogel carrier...Read More

January 5th, 2023 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the University of Florida have created a point-of-care biosensor that can rapidly detect a biomarker for oral cancer. The device uses test strips, such as those used in blood glucose tests, to spot cell proliferation regulating inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A), a protein biomarker that can reveal the presence of oral cancer. The device requires a liquid sample that is introduced to the end of the test strip, where it runs into channels that contain antibody-covered electrodes. The antibodies are specific for CIP2A, and antibody binding changes...Read More
Scientists at MIT have developed an optogenetics technique that can lead to long-term changes in neuronal excitability by altering neuronal membrane capacitance. Unlike conventional optogenetics, which involves using light to rapidly activate ion channels on engineered neurons, the new technique relies on a light-sensitive reaction to increase the presence of conductive or insulating polymers in the cell membrane. The method creates long-term changes in neuronal excitability, and does not require continuous illumination to maintain these changes. The method is primarily intended as a research tool that can increase our understanding...Read More

December 27th, 2022 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Binghamton University have developed a microbial fuel cell that can power ingestible devices, such as cameras, that can detect health issues in the gastrointestinal tract, and specifically within the small intestine. The fuel cell contains dormant Bacillus subtilis endospores that only germinate and become active when they encounter nutrient-rich intestinal fluid. Another check on activity is a pH-sensitive membrane that only allows the fuel cell to activate when it reaches the neutral pH of the small intestine. The technology may provide an alternative to conventional batteries that could...Read More

December 21st, 2022 by Scott Jung
Medgadget was recently invited to Taiwan to cover the 2022 Healthcareᐩ Expo in Taipei. As is the case for most trade shows, the exhibit hall comprised a large portion of the expo. Consisting of over 2000 exhibitors in two massive halls, the main hall showcased the best of Taiwan's healthcare industry. Here are some notable trends we observed while roaming the aisles. Big Tech is Invested in Healthcare At the MedTex Summit Asia that took place during the expo (see here for our coverage), speakers from ASUS, Microsoft, Intel, and...Read More

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Smartphone Camera Measures Blood Oxygen

At the University of Washington a research team has developed a smartphone system that can measure blood oxygen levels. The technology uses the camera and flash of... September 21st, 2022