Researchers at University of California San Diego have developed a tiny ‘pop-up’ sensor that can measure the electronic signals propagating inside cardiac cells. The technology consists of tiny spike-like protrusions that can penetrate cell membranes without causing damage, and which can detect electrical signals within individual cells and between cells in 3D tissue samples. The device could provide new insights into cardiac diseases, including myocardial infarction and arrhythmias. Cardiac tissue is intrinsically dependent on electrical activity for correct function, and measuring this accurately on a single cell level and intercellularly...Read More
Blackrock Neurotech, a medical technology company based in Salt Lake City, created a suite of brain-computer interface systems with the goal of empowering patients to have increased independence and quality of life. This latest technology aims to restore written communication in patients who have difficulties in this regard, such as those affected by paralysis. The company's new system, which Blackrock aims to make available in late 2022, allows patients to type text by merely imagining themselves writing or typing the words. The system uses machine learning to decode neural signals...Read More
We have all been living through a life-altering pandemic. As a result, words such as “oxygenation” and “pulse oximetry” have become mainstream and the general public has increased the use of pulse oximeters. This should come as no surprise since hypoxia (i.e., low blood oxygen level) is one of the hallmarks of COVID-19 pneumonia. Today, there are many affordable personal pulse oximeters on the market. Traditional clip-on designs have several limitations. For example, they do not allow continuous monitoring, which may be indicated for some individuals. Thus, Wellue, a Chinese-based...Read More

December 22nd, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany have developed a light-activated form of the enzymes that power the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. The assay has gained recent fame among the general public because of its use as a COVID-19 diagnostic tool. The technique could lead to alternatives to current heat-activated enzymes, which are difficult to design and create, and are not suitable for enzymes that are easily damaged by high temperatures. The method may help to expand the scope of what is possible with PCR. PCR has been around for...Read More
Respira Labs, a medtech company based in California, created the Sylvee sensor, an adhesive patch that the user wears on their lower rib cage, and which monitors respiratory health. The device works through acoustic resonance, whereby it emits sound into the chest cavity and analyzes the echoed vibrations. The measured data provide information on lung air volume and correlate with the amount of air that is trapped in the lungs, which can offer a warning sign that a respiratory exacerbation is possible. With many COVID-19 patients experiencing impaired breathing for...Read More

December 21st, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich in Germany have developed a new protein therapeutic against SARS-CoV-2. Unlike previously developed antibody therapies and vaccines, the virus is very unlikely to be able to circumvent this latest technology through mutation, as it is based on the viral target site in the body, the ACE2 receptor. The technology consists of the ACE2 protein, which the researchers have fused with a fragment of a human antibody to ensure that it remains stable for longer in the body. Once administered, viral particles will bind...Read More
Researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a thin and flexible paper battery that has significant potential as a component in wearable health tech. The device consists of cellulose paper that has been reinforced with a hydrogel and external screen-printed electrodes. It can provide power when flexed and even when it is cut apart. Finally, unlike most batteries, the technology is environmentally friendly, and completely breaks down within four weeks when buried in soil.     Powering wearable health sensors in an effective and sustainable way is a...Read More
Researchers at Brown University have developed a breath test for COVID-19. The breathalyzer, which they have termed the Bubbler, consists of a tube that someone blows into for fifteen seconds. The tube contains a mix of enzymes that reverse transcribe the RNA in viral particles into DNA, which allows for a subsequent benchtop PCR test. Breathalyzers were bathed in UV light to maintain sterile field prior to construction of kits prepared for the clinical trial at Rhode Island Hospital. Top image: Bubbler kits were processed in a negative pressure bench...Read More
At RMIT University in Australia a team of scientists developed a copper alloy that can kill bacteria on its surface 100 times faster than regular copper. The researchers created the material using copper and manganese atoms, and then removed the manganese after the material was formed, resulting in a comb-like copper structure with massively increased surface area. The development could help with the fight against drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare facilities and may be useful in anti-microbial door handles and hand-rails, face masks, respirators, and ventilation systems. Images magnified 120,000 times...Read More
Genetic modification offers huge potential in treating a wide variety of conditions, but the devil is in the details. Previously explored methods to deliver genes into cells, such as using viral vectors, have been connected with safety issues. As such, the potential of gene therapy has not yet been fully realized. Technological advances may offer us safer and more effective ways to deliver genes into the body. To that end, researchers at Indiana University created a silicon nanochip that can deliver genetic material into the skin. The device is conceived...Read More
Scientists are beginning to appreciate the importance of the gut microbiome in health and disease, and administering microbes that can enhance our health or prevent disease is the next logical step. However, bacteria are delicate and require protection. Researchers at MIT have now engineered a method to coat bacteria so that they are protected from oxygen and other stressors during processing and delivery to the gut. This self-assembling protective coating may pave the way for more bacterial therapies. The gut microbiome is increasingly recognized as important in a variety of...Read More

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