Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed an ultrashort-pulse laser that can kill multidrug-resistant bacteria and their spores, and without damaging human cells. The laser works by vibrating and breaking protein structures within the bacterial cell, resulting in biochemical disruption and eventual death. The researchers hope that the technique could prove useful in decontaminating wounds and blood products. Killing multidrug-resistant bacteria is no mean feat, as many of the common antibiotics we use are no longer effective against them. General antibacterial strategies that could kill...Read More

November 24th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Engineers and orthopedic specialists at the University of Arizona built an ultra-thin wireless sensor that is designed to monitor bone health over long periods of time. The battery-free device is intended to measure a variety of physiological parameters, such as temperature and bone strain, and could be useful for patients with osteoporosis or to monitor healing and guide rehabilitation after a fracture. The device is affixed to the bone surface using a calcium adhesive, which encourages the bone to grow and fuse with the device surface for long-term implantation. At...Read More

November 23rd, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Scientists at Johns Hopkins used a combination of molecular labeling and imaging techniques to create a three-dimensional map of the blood vessels in the mouse skull. Their approach also reveals niches where stem cell populations lurk, which could help researchers to understand how blood vessels and cells behave in various states of disease or injury. The researchers are interested in tissue engineering to replace lost bone, and their new methodology could allow them to understand how interventions to repair bone defects in the skull, such as biomaterial implants, are working....Read More

November 22nd, 2021 by Conn Hastings
At the University of Virginia researchers developed a new bioprinting technique based on voxels. Voxels are 3D cubes that form basic building blocks in computer graphics, similar to what pixels are for 2D, and have been popularized by games such as Minecraft. The new technique involves printing discrete spherical blobs of bioink (as the voxels) within a supportive matrix that then swell to merge together, forming a porous structure. Sticky bioinks can be difficult to handle and print predictably, but this new technique helps to address this issue.     Bioprinting...Read More
Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China, working with outside collaborators, have developed shape-shifting microrobots that are designed to be guided to a target area in the body using magnets, and then release a drug cargo in response to the local environment. The application that the researchers have pursued involves guiding the microrobots to a solid tumor using magnets outside the body, and then the tumor’s naturally acidic microenvironment stimulates a shape change, resulting in the local release of a chemotherapy drug.   Researchers are devising a...Read More
Researchers at the University of Connecticut have developed a highly sensitive imaging sensor that can rapidly and accurately monitor bacterial growth. The technique involves shining laser light through a bacterial sample and taking images at multiple orientations, before reconstructing the diffracted light patterns, to produce a 3D image of the bacterial colony. These 3D images provide significant detail about the growth and characteristics of bacteria, and could be very helpful in rapidly identifying which antibiotics are most effective at killing them. Determining antibiotic susceptibility is a laborious process. A bacterial...Read More
Delivering drugs to the brain remains a challenge due to the blood-brain barrier, a specialized endothelial layer that is highly selective in what it permits into the neural tissue beyond. At the University of Texas at Dallas, researchers have developed a technique that allows therapeutics to cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially allowing for new treatments for brain tumors and other conditions affecting the brain. The method involves administering gold nanoparticles into the blood stream and then activating them using transcranial laser illumination to cause temporary openings in the tight junctions...Read More

November 17th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the University of Utah engineered a wearable fabric that can function as a biosensor, measuring electrical activity of muscles. The technology could be useful for physical rehabilitation, allowing clinicians and physical therapists to monitor patients' progress. The fabric contains a network of silver flakes and gold nanoparticles that provide conductivity and allow electrical signals to be measured in high fidelity using a portable electromyography (EMG) device.   Physical rehabilitation is a cornerstone of recovery from a variety of illnesses and injuries, but obtaining hard EMG data on muscle...Read More
Cooler Heads Care, a medtech company based in San Diego, created Amma, a cold cap therapy device that aims to help chemotherapy patients to preserve their hair. Hair loss is a very common side-effect of chemo, and poses a significant psychological challenge for patients who are already struggling with their diagnosis and treatment. Simply cooling the scalp during chemotherapy can dramatically reduce the amount of drug absorbed by the hair follicles, leading to reduced hair loss. However, current technology to achieve this comes with a hefty price tag, and may...Read More
At Harvard University a team of scientists and engineers developed an exosuit that uses ultrasound to measure muscle activity. The capability allows for rapid calibration of the suit for users' needs. The soft wearable device continuously assists when walking or running, reducing the energy required to perform these tasks, which could be very useful for patients with neurological issues or muscular dystrophy. By directly measuring muscle dynamics, the suit provides activity- and user-specific assistance, bringing such wearable technologies a step closer to fruition. Wearable ‘exosuits’ have significant potential in assisting...Read More
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed an injectable therapeutic that consists of synthetic peptide sequences intended to regenerate spinal tissue. The team designed the material so that it would allow the peptides to ‘dance,’ with such movements increasing the chance that they will find and interact with receptor proteins in neural tissue. The technique has already been shown to promote repair of spinal cord injuries in mice. Longitudinal spinal cord section treated with the most bioactive therapeutic scaffold. Regenerated axons (red) regrew within the lesion. “Our research aims to find...Read More

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