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November 1st, 2021 by Conn Hastings
ENT
Researchers at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China created a battery-free device that could pave the way for an artificial cochlea to aid with hearing loss. The cochlea, a component of the inner ear, converts sound waves into electrical impulses, and the new device performs a similar function. The device consists of barium titanate nanoparticles within a conductive polymer to form a piezo-triboelectric material that generates an electrical signal when moved and jostled by sound waves. For many people who are hearing impaired, the issue may lie...Read More
A research team at Florida Atlantic University has tested a robotic cat in its ability to influence the mood and cognition of patients with dementia. The furry device moves and make realistic noises, and can provide a source of companionship and entertainment for patients, without the commitment of caring for a real animal. As patients with dementia can experience psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, the technology represents a low impact intervention that avoids the potential side-effects of pharmacological treatment. Dementia is extremely challenging for those who live with...Read More
Scientists at MIT announced the development of a rapid COVID-19 test that can detect the virus in a saliva sample in as little as five minutes. The technology does not require antibodies or other expensive reagents typically associated with protein detection, and is instead based on carbon nanotubes. The nano-structures are encased in a web of polymers, into which the target molecules stick, altering the fluorescent signal generated when the nanotubes are illuminated using a laser. The researchers were able to rapidly adapt the nanotube technology to detect SARS-CoV-2, suggesting...Read More
Achiko, a company based in Switzerland, has developed AptameX, a saliva-based rapid COVID-19 test. The technology is based on DNA aptamers that are bound to gold nanoparticles. On binding with a viral protein the gold nanoparticles are released, causing a measurable color change. The test takes approximately 15 minutes in total, with the user spending just five minutes washing their mouth out and then providing a saliva sample. PCR testing is the current gold standard for COVID-19, but it is not always practical to undergo such testing, and it is...Read More

October 26th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Collaborators from University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University have tested a ‘"nanozyme" system designed to reduce dental plaque. The technology consists of iron oxide nanoparticles that are applied to tooth enamel before a follow-up rinse of hydrogen peroxide. The nanoparticles act as an “enzyme” to activate the hydrogen peroxide, generating reactive oxygen species and killing bacteria that cause tooth decay. Strikingly, the formulation also contains a marker that turns blue in the presence of reactive oxygen species, highlighting the areas of plaque being treated. The technology could act as a...Read More

October 25th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Monash University in Australia and Harvard University have developed a new treatment for infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To achieve this, they attached a chemoattractant to an antibiotic drug molecule, meaning that it attracts neutrophils to the site of an infection and primes them to kill the bacteria. The two-pronged technique could give clinicians an edge for a variety of treatment-resistant infections.   Treatment-resistant bacteria are a growing problem. New antibiotics are thin on the ground, and our current stock of treatments is becoming less effective as new...Read More

October 21st, 2021 by Conn Hastings
A team at Georgia Tech tinkered together a battery-free electroporation device to deliver DNA vaccines, which is inspired by BBQ lighters. The details of the workings of the vaccine injector are described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The electric ‘spark’ that ignites the gas flowing from a BBQ gas lighter has been repurposed to provide the power behind the electroporation. The battery-free piezoelectric sparking mechanism from a lighter is attached to a microneedle patch that acts as an array of electrodes. When the device is pressed against...Read More

October 20th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at MIT, alongside collaborators from Uppsala University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, developed a ‘robotic textile’ that consists of an array of actuatable fibers. The fiber actuators are powered using compressed air, and can perform an impressive array of movements. Garments made using such fibers can sense how they're stretched and compressed, and can provide tactile feedback at the same time. Although these fabrics have a multitude of uses, the researchers initially propose that the technology could assist patients in recovering breathing patterns after surgery or...Read More
Alva Health, a medtech startup based in Connecticut, is developing a wristband that can detect the signs of stroke and promptly alert the wearer and/or healthcare staff. The technology is intended for those at high risk of stroke, such as stroke survivors and those diagnosed with transient ischemic attack. Strokes cause a huge level of patient morbidity every year, with many suffering debilitating symptoms that are life changing. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are very important, but in many cases the early symptoms of a stroke are subtle and are...Read More
Scientists at Penn State University developed a wearable glucose monitor that can non-invasively measure glucose levels within sweat in real time. The low-cost sensor consists of laser-induced graphene and a nickel-gold alloy that can detect the very low levels of glucose in sweat without the use of enzymes. The sensor contains a microfluidic chamber into which sweat is drawn, and then an alkaline solution reacts with the glucose in the sweat, causing a reaction in the alloy and a substantial electrical signal. Measuring glucose levels is a pain, literally. From...Read More
AdhereTech, a medtech company based in New York City, has developed the Aidia Smart Bottle (previously known as the Smart Pill Bottle), a connected pill bottle that helps to increase medication compliance using lights, audio alerts, and text message reminders. The bottle will remind patients to take their medication and remind them if they have missed a dose. Poor medication compliance can be the decider between disease management and disease progression. During the COVID-19 pandemic many patients with chronic health conditions were not in regular contact with their physicians and...Read More

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Airway Chip as Benchtop Model of Cystic Fibrosis

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