Tech

The answer to the looming fuel crisis in the 21st century may be found by thinking small, microscopic in fact. Microscopic organisms from bacteria and cyanobacteria, to fungi and microalgae, are biological factories that are proving to be efficient sources of inexpensive, environmentally friendly biofuels that can serve as alternatives to oil, according to research presented at the 109th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

BOSTON -- As President Barack Obama calls for streamlining heath care by fully converting to electronic medical records and as Congress prepares to debate issues of patient privacy, one question has largely gone unasked: What do patients want?

Skin from a factory – this has long been the dream of pharmacologists, chemists and doctors. Research has an urgent need for large quantities of 'skin models', which can be used to determine if products such as creams and soaps, cleaning agents, medicines and adhesive bandages are compatible with skin, or if they instead will lead to irritation or allergic reactions for the consumer. Such test results are seen as more meaningful than those from animal experiments, and can even make such experiments largely superfluous.

ATS 2009, SAN DIEGO—Healthcare workers in South Africa are at a significantly increased risk of developing drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR-TB, in a trend which threatens to further exacerbate the already beleaguered healthcare systems in sub-Saharan countries, according to results of a new study. Researchers say the results underscore the urgent need for stringent TB screening policies among healthcare workers in these areas.

ATS 2009, SAN DIEGO—Aside from the obvious and immediate health problems that patients undergoing mechanical ventilation face, those who recover often do so with profound loss of strength and mobility that can impair their daily functioning and even lead to increased risk of morbidity and mortality down the line. Now research shows that functional status may be restored earlier to ICU patients by performing daily interruptions in sedation paired with mobilization and exercise, as led by physical and occupational therapists.

ATS 2009, SAN DIEGO—Cystic fibrosis patients may benefit from a new therapy that increases airway hydration, preventing the buildup of mucous, which is a key factor in the disease, according to researchers at Parion Sciences in Durham, N.C.

The research will be presented on Sunday, May 17, during the American Thoracic Society's 105th International Conference in San Diego.

When a hospital's emergency department is overcrowded with seriously sick and injured patients, it may "go on diversion," re-routing ambulances to other emergency departments. But the benefits of "diversion" are largely unproven. Often those emergency departments are just as crowded, and the greater distance to that other hospital can worsen the condition of some patients.

It is well established that seat belts save lives. However, many pregnant women do not wear seat belts, for fear that the belt itself could injure the baby in a car crash. But is this actually the case? Does the seat belt put the baby at risk?

At the Taiwan Open 2009, held in Taiwan from Feb. 10-13, the Dutch national supercomputer Huygens, which is located at SARA Computing and Networking Services in Amsterdam, defeated two human Go professionals in an official match.

HOUSTON, May 15, 2009 – If one University of Houston professor has his way, the inexpensive plastic now used to manufacture CDs and DVDs will one day soon be put to use in improving the integrity of electronics in aircraft, computers and iPhones.

Thanks to a pair of grants from the U.S. Air Force, Shay Curran, associate professor of physics at UH, and his research team have demonstrated ultra-high electrical conductive properties in plastics, called polycarbonates, by mixing them with just the right amount and type of carbon nanotubes.

Promoting the health of young children, before five years of age, could save society up to $65 billion in future health care costs, according to an examination of childhood health conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The results are published in the May 15, 2009, issue of Academic Pediatrics.

DURHAM, N.C. – Pathfinders, a program designed to care for the whole person -- body, mind and spirit -- has been found to help women with terminal cancer cope and improved their quality of life, according to a study led by researchers in the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Subordinate individuals living within a group of vertebrates sometimes assist a more dominant pair by helping to raise the dominant pair's offspring and this has been shown to occur among subordinate female cichlids. Reporting in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, Dik Heg and colleagues at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the Ohio State University, suggest that rather than engaging in an act of reciprocal altruism, these subordinate females actually benefit from the care-giving they offer as the more helpful subordinates are more likely to reproduce.

Scientists are a step closer to making environmentally-friendly 'magnetic' refrigerators and air conditioning systems a reality, thanks to new research published today in Advanced Materials.

ORLANDO – Combining two chemotherapy drugs with trastuzumab (Herceptin) to treat women who have metastatic HER2+ breast cancer may offer physicians another choice in their treatment options.