Researchers at the Salk Institute in California, working with outside collaborators, have developed a COVID-19 test that can rapidly identify and sequence the causative virus, helping to track new variants. The test, called "nanopore sequencing of isothermal rapid viral amplification for near real-time analysis," (NIRVANA), can also simultaneously test for other viruses, such as influenza, that may cause similar symptoms. As SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate, health authorities are increasingly concerned about new variants being more dangerous, more transmissible, and more difficult to treat or vaccinate against. At present, a PCR...Read More

March 31st, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed an easy to perform CRISPR-based COVID-19 test that takes only 30 minutes for the results to come in. The test, which involves dipping a paper strip into a mixture containing a nasal sample, is unaffected by new variants of the virus, and could be useful for rapid testing performed by non-specialists. "Viruses are very smart. They can mutate, edit, or shuffle their genetic material, meaning diagnostic tests may fail to catch them. Hence, we spent considerable effort developing a robust...Read More
Well-being and health cannot solely rely upon symptomatic treatment. In fact, “good health” cannot be truly achieved unless the root causes of dis-eases are addressed. Even more ideal is the approach of preventative and integrative medicine, in which lifestyle and behavior changes are made holistically, in conjunction with any necessary treatments, such that balance and health can be achieved in parallel.  From March 24 to 27th, some of the world’s foremost integrative health and medicine practitioners gathered for a virtual conference entitled “Hope, Resilience and Healing in the COVID-19 Era.”...Read More
In the United States approximately 1 million children undergo ear tube placement every year. The tubes are typically needed when there's excess fluid in the middle ear and to address chronic ear infections. The tubes help to prevent this fluid build-up but require placement under general anesthesia. General anesthesia can be distressing for children and parents, and Preceptis Medical, a medtech company based in Minnesota, has developed an in-office solution for ear tube placement that requires only a local anesthetic. The Hummingbird device allows an ENT surgeon to place an...Read More

March 25th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Pohang University of Science & Technology in Korea have developed a bioglue, containing a mussel adhesive protein and hyaluronic acid, that can seal fistulas within the body. It works even on fistulas present in particularly challenging areas, such as the wall of the bladder. The researchers delivered the glue using a thin syringe, and showed that it could plug fistulas in the bladder walls of pigs. Fistulas are abnormal openings between spaces in the body, such as between the bladder and surrounding organs and structures, including the intestine...Read More

March 25th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
An international research collaboration, including teams from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), Brown University, and MIT, has developed an AI platform that can assess blood flow characteristics through microvasculature. The system relies on a microfluidic chip that mimics vascular disease, in this case a micro-aneurysm in the eye. The AI platform uses 2D images of fluid flow through the chip to calculate how blood would flow in three dimensions. The resulting data could help clinicians to learn more about vascular diseases, improve their diagnosis, and track their progression. "Currently,...Read More
Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science have applied a new imaging technique in a way that may allow clinicians to assess liver fat content without having to take biopsies. Called near-infrared hyperspectral imaging, the method can highlight fat distribution in liver tissue, potentially helping clinicians to diagnose and assess conditions such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD involves excessive fat deposition in the liver and can lead to liver failure. As the name suggests, this isn’t caused by alcohol abuse, but risk factors such as type 2 diabetes...Read More
Researchers at Caltech have developed a non-invasive functional ultrasound system that can detect brain activity by listening to tiny changes in blood flow within the brain. The system could provide a viable alternative to invasive electrodes that are implanted into the brain for brain machine interfaces, such as those used in prosthetics. So far, the system can detect the brain activity corresponding to a specific body movement in non-human primates, before the movement occurs. Brain machine interfaces hold significant promise for those with paralysis in controlling a variety of assistive...Read More

March 22nd, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a tissue-engineered heart valve replacement that can grow within a patient. The breakthrough could allow children with congenital heart defects to avoid repeated surgeries to replace heart valves that they have outgrown. To create the valves, the researchers cultured donor cells in a fibrin gel within a bioreactor, allowing them to deposit a collagen matrix. They then removed the donor cells from the valve constructs before implanting them into lambs, where endogenous cells populated the valves and enabled them to grow. At...Read More
Electroretinography is a common technique for diagnosing and following up on eye conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa. To perform an electroretinography exam, a device is placed against the eye that projects light onto it and measures the resulting electrical signals that are generated by the retina. Commercial electroretinography devices are rigid and require electrodes, often in the form of a hard contact lens, to touch the eye or the bulbar conjunctiva just underneath. This is irritating and unpleasant, and often requires general anesthesia or sedation to...Read More
TISSIUM, a Paris-based medtech firm, has been named a French Tech 120 company for the 2021 program. TISSIUM, previously called Gecko Biomedical, is developing a suite of polymer technologies and associated delivery devices for tissue repair applications. French Tech 120 is a French government driven program designed to support a total of 120 late-stage startups based in France every year. The program provides financial and practical support for promising companies, and offers an opportunity for companies to network with other start-ups at a similar stage of development. TISSIUM aims to...Read More

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