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Is This the Cure for Deafness?

Most people will be familiar with the feeling of a ringing in their ears after a night of loud music.

Although the ringing is normally temporary, repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, leads to hearing problems and eventually causes deafness.

But sea anemones possess a skill we do not – they can repair cells like those damaged in human ears through loud noises, a new study has shown.

Repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, would eventually lead to deafness. But sea anemones have a skill we do no - they can repair the damage caused in their ears by loud sounds, a new study has shown
Repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, would eventually lead to deafness. But sea anemones have a skill we do no – they can repair the damage caused in their ears by loud sounds, a new study has shown

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Another Cancer Breakthrough

The patch contains specially-designed nanorods and nanospheres, seen here attacking the tumor cells
The patch contains specially-designed nanorods and nanospheres, seen here attacking the tumor cells (Credit: MIT/Ella Maru)

A new, MIT-developed hydrogel patch could provide a more targeted, triple-therapy approach to treating tumors. With benefits to using the patch both before and after tumor removal, and with tests of laboratory mice showing extremely positive results, the little patch could have a big impact on cancer treatment. read more

There’s Gold in Them There Joints

Emilia Morosan (right) led the study that uncovered the tough new material

Emilia Morosan (right) led the study that uncovered the tough new material (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

A chance discovery in a physics lab at Rice University has turned up an ultra-hard material that could usurp the titanium commonly used in today’s knee and hip replacements.

Scientists have found that by melting gold into the titanium mix they can produce a non-toxic metal that is four times harder than titanium itself, raising the prospect of more durable, longer lasting medical implants. read more

Artificial Pancreas Coming Soon For Diabetes Sufferers

Existing insulin pumps could soon be a thing of the past, with research showing that automated, ...
Existing insulin pumps could soon be a thing of the past, with research showing that automated, artificial pancreases may be available by 2018 (Credit: Alden Chadwick/ Creative Commons)

Sufferers of type 1 diabetes are required to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin as needed. But the daily hassle of self-care for patients could soon be reduced, with a new study concluding that automated “artificial pancreas” systems could be available in as little as two years. read more

Electric Shock May Help Vision

A mild electrical current to a certain part of the brain has been found to affect ...
A mild electrical current to a certain part of the brain has been found to affect how it processes visual information (Credit: Ken Teegardin/CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you find yourself struggling to focus on an object, there may one day be an alternative to reaching for your glasses or popping in your contact lenses. Scientists have found that by delivering a mild electrical current to a certain part of the brain they can affect how it processes visual information, leading not only to sharpened focus for the subject, but possibly a new understanding of our sense of sight as well.

Stimulating the brain with electrical currents has shown promise in a number of different areas of healthcare. These include treating psychological disorders, preventing migraine attacks, rehabilitating stroke victims and even helping us to learn from our mistakes. So for researchers at Vanderbilt University, adapting the technology to improve eyesight wasn’t all that big of a leap. read more

New Treatment Halts MS in its Tracks

A breakthrough treatment for multiple sclerosis has been shown to halt the disease in its tracks.

Doctors used chemotherapy to kill off patients’ faulty immune cells and then replaced their stem cells to ‘reset’ the system.

The clinical trial, involving 24 patients, had remarkable results.

All but one of the Canadian patients were able to come off all medication for seven and a half years without their disease progressing.

And a third of patients saw a sustained improvement in their condition throughout the study period, according to a paper published in The Lancet last night.  read more

Amputee Can Move Fingers Individually

An amputee has reportedly become the first in the world to gain individual finger control in his prosthetic hand thanks to a ground-breaking operation.

Two hand surgeons from OrthoCarolina in North Carolina say they completed the first surgery that allows an amputee patient to have individual digital control in a functioning myoelectric prosthesis.

The operation involved transferring existing muscle from the fingers to the back of the hand and wrist without causing damage to the nerves and blood vessels to the muscles. read more

Universal Cancer Cure

Engineering immune cells to attack cancer is a form of treatment that is showing great promise, but it is complex because it involves extracting and modifying T cells before injecting them back into the body. Scientists have now demonstrated a way to not just arm immune cells while still inside the body, but equip them with the ability to fight any kind of cancer, providing an early proof-of-concept for a cheap, universal vaccine for the deadly disease. read more

How About Just Starving the Tumor?

The team identified and cut off access to an essential supply of cancer cell nutrients, reducing ...

The team identified and cut off access to an essential supply of cancer cell nutrients, reducing growth by an astonishing 96 percent.

There are more than 900 different types of cancer currently identified, and many of them require very specific treatments, and can become resistant to chemotherapy as time goes on. read more

Adding Eggs to Electronics

The clear albumen surrounding an egg's yolk was spun into a super-thin wafer used in a ...

The clear albumen surrounding an egg’s yolk was spun into a super-thin wafer used in a degradable chip known as a memristor

Durability is often touted as the hallmark of good electronics, but sometimes you want components that don’t last all that long. For example, it would be handy if microelectronic systems that delivered drugs to various parts of the body dissolved after their task was done. Or if sensors that monitor pollution simply dissolved after they were finished reporting, rather than contributing to even more environmentally-damaging material. A team of researchers from the UK and China has just figured out how to create one such chip out of eggs. read more