Tech

First fully-implantable micropacemaker designed for fetal use

First fully-implantable micropacemaker designed for fetal use

A team of investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California have developed the first fully implantable micropacemaker designed for use in a fetus with complete heart block. The team has done preclinical testing and optimization as reported in a recent issue of the journal Heart Rhythm. The micropacemaker has been designated a Humanitarian Use Device by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The investigators anticipate the first human use of the device in the near future.

CRISPR-Cas9 edit technique for mosquito that transmits chikungunya yellow fever

CRISPR-Cas9 edit technique for mosquito that transmits chikungunya yellow fever

Traditionally, to understand how a gene functions, a scientist would breed an organism that lacks that gene - "knocking it out" - then ask how the organism has changed. Are its senses affected? Its behavior? Can it even survive? Thanks to the recent advance of gene editing technology, this gold standard genetic experiment has become much more accessible in a wide variety of organisms.

Smartphone face recognition by acting more like a brain

Face recognition security on smartphones can be significantly improved if users store an 'average' photo of themselves, according to new research by scientists at the University of York.

A research team led by Dr David Robertson, of the Department of Psychology's FaceVar laboratory at York, found that combining different pictures of the user, rather than a single 'target' image, leads to much better recognition across all kinds of daily settings. The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Fasting plus less-toxic cancer drug may work as well as chemotherapy

Fasting in combination with chemotherapy has already been shown to kill cancer cells, but a pair of new studies in mice suggests that a less-toxic class of drugs combined with fasting may kill breast, colorectal and lung cancer cells equally well.

If shown to work in humans, this combination could replace chemotherapy and make fasting a potent component of a long-term strategy to treat cancer, according to senior author Valter Longo of USC.

Koko: Crowdsourcing depression

A new peer-to-peer networking tool enables sufferers of anxiety and depression to build online support communities and practice therapeutic techniques. A study involving 166 subjects who had exhibited symptoms of depression allowed researchers to compare their tool with an established technique known as expressive writing. The new tool yielded better outcomes across the board, but it had particular advantages in two areas: One was in training subjects to use a therapeutic technique called cognitive reappraisal, and the other was in improving the mood of subjects with more severe symptoms.

Zeiss semiconductor imaging tech creates a 'Google Maps' for the body

Semiconductor imaging technology originally developed to scan silicon wafers for defects has been modified to zoom through the human body down to the level of a single cell and could be a game-changer for medicine. The imaging technology, developed by high-tech German optical and industrial measurement manufacturer Zeiss, plus Google algorithms, is able to zoom in and out from the scale of the whole joint down to the cellular level "just as you would with Google Maps", reducing to "a matter of weeks analyses that once took 25 years to complete," said Professor Knothe Tate of UNSW Australia.

1 of 32 hockey helmets earn 3-star rating

Virginia Tech has released its five-star ratings of hockey helmets, judging their abilities to help prevent concussions. The findings so far: Only one of 32 tested helmets earned three stars with all other models faring worse in laboratory impact tests representative of the blows experienced by hockey players.

The first-of-their-kind ratings are three years in the making and follow Virginia Tech's ratings of football helmets.

Big data finds genetic clues in humans

Big Data is a term we read and hear about often, but outside the obvious terms, 'big' and 'data', and what they casually mean, it can be hard to grasp. Computer scientists at Washington University in St. Louis' School of Engineering & Applied Science tackled some big data about an important protein and discovered its connection in human history as well as clues about its role in complex neurological diseases.

Positive Preclinical Proof-of-Concept Results For Mitochondrial Protein Replacement Platform in Friedreich's Ataxia

BioBlast Pharma Ltd. has announced positive preclinical in vitro and in vivo proof-of-concept study results for its mitochondrial protein replacement therapy drug candidate (BB-FA) for Friedreich's Ataxia.

Wearable device helps vision-impaired avoid collision

People who have lost some of their peripheral vision, such as those with retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, or brain injury that causes half visual field loss, often face mobility challenges and increased likelihood of falls and collisions. As therapeutic vision restoration treatments are still in their infancy, rehabilitation approaches using assistive technologies are often times viable alternatives for addressing mobility challenges related to vision loss.