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Prosthesis That Can Feel

The modular hand constructed by Johns Hopkins University utilizes DARPA tech to allow subjects to feel physical sensations
The modular hand constructed by Johns Hopkins University utilizes DARPA tech to allow subjects to feel physical sensations (Credit: DARPA)

A mechanical hand utilizing DARPA-developed neural technologies has become the first to allow a paralyzed patient to feel physical sensations through a prosthesis. read more

Blowing up Another Food Myth

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Food allergies have been on the rise in recent years. Some reports show that as much as 10% of children in developed nations are affected. And peanut allergies seem to be the most prevalent.

Searching the Internet, one can find dozens of near death allergic reactions to peanuts – and a lot of these experiences center around airlines and the ubiquitous bag of complementary salty treats.

In August 2013, a woman and her son refused to board a United Airlines flight from Denver to Newark due to her nine-year-olds severe peanut allergy. It seems the agent at the gate told the mom that “the crew would not make an onboard announcement about Joshua’s allergy.”

The mother, Lianne Mandelbaum “had seen other passengers eating peanuts while waiting to board, and she concluded that the flight would be dangerous for Joshua.”

A few months later she launched a website, asking “that airlines ‘institute a bill of rights’ for food allergic passengers. Those rights would require airlines to create buffer zones, of at least three rows in front and three rows in back, of the row where an allergic passenger is seated. Airlines would not serve products containing nuts within the buffer zone. Also, flight crews would ask passengers in the zone to refrain from eating any products with nuts.”

Well that’s all fine and good, but then I found this. Just last week, on a Ryanair flight, “a group of passengers were converging menacingly on a Zimbabwean man they accused of trying to kill” a four-year-old girl. read more

The Paralyzed Can Walk Again?

Five paralyzed men treated with a non-invasive form of spinal stimulation gained significant voluntary movement of their legsFive paralyzed men treated with a non-invasive form of spinal stimulation gained significant voluntary movement of their legs (Credit: Neuromuscular Research Laboratory/UCLA)

 

Five men with complete motor paralysis have regained the ability to move their legs voluntarily and produce step-like movements after being treated with a non-invasive form of spinal cord stimulation. The new treatment builds on prior work to generate voluntary movements in paralyzed people through electrical stimulation – in particular, two studies (one completed in 2011, the other in 2014) that involved surgically implanting an electrode array on the spinal cord. This time, however, the researchers found success without performing any invasive surgery. read more

Vaccine-style Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research led by Professor Ranjeny Thomas has uncovered a promising new approach to preventing rheumatoid arthritis

Research led by Professor Ranjeny Thomas has uncovered a promising new approach to preventing rheumatoid arthritis

According to the American College of Rheumatology, more than one million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease gives rise to swelling and pain by causing the immune system to malfunction and attack healthy tissue. No cure is available, though aggressive and varied drug treatments can curb its effects. Now, success in an early clinical trial suggests that a new form of therapy could stop these symptoms taking hold by retraining the patient’s immune system to ignore a peptide it normally identifies as a foreign foe. read more

Onions Make Muscles

By adding a bit of gold, artificial muscles can be made from these things (Photo: Shutterstock)

By adding a bit of gold, artificial muscles can be made from these things (Photo: Shutterstock)

Artificial muscles could one day revolutionize fields such as robotics, prosthetics and nanotechnology. So far, we’ve seen examples made from materials like electroactive elastomers, crumpled graphene, and vanadium dioxide. The problem is, most artificial muscles can only expand in one direction, or contract in the other. Now, however, scientists from National Taiwan University have gotten around that limitation using gold-plated onion cells.

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New Drug Delivery System

Silicone microspheres made via ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (Image: Kenneth Suslick)

Silicone microspheres made via ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (Image: Kenneth Suslick)

Scientists are increasingly looking at using medication-filled microspheresfor targeted drug delivery within the human body. Silicone would be a particularly good building material for such spheres, as it’s biocompatible, waterproof, and chemically stable. read more

Enzyme May Create Universal Blood Donors

Using an enzyme to remove sugars from red blood cells, it may be possible to give type A, ...

Using an enzyme to remove sugars from red blood cells, it may be possible to give type A, B or AB blood to anybody (Photo: Shutterstock)

When it comes to donated blood, type O is special. It can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type. By contrast, type A can only go to A or AB patients, and B can only go to B or AB patients. Additionally, type O patients can only receive O. Thanks to new research, however, it may soon be possible to give anyone whatever type of blood happens to be available, with no ill effects. read more

Salmonella Kills Cancer Cells?

A genetically modified Salmonella strain has been shown to kill off cancer cells without t...

A genetically modified Salmonella strain has been shown to kill off cancer cells without the nasty side effects (Photo: Shutterstock)

 

Though generally a bacteria we’d associate with a severe bout of food poisoning, previous research has suggested that Salmonella needn’t always bring bad news and stomach cramps.

Certain strains have been shown to kill off cancer cells, but to use them as a form of treatment for humans without inducing any nasty side effects has so far proven difficult. read more

A Drug That Can Turn Off Cancer

A revolutionary drug that ‘switches off’ cancer may soon be offered to patients with some forms of the disease.

If prescribed, the once-a-day tablet, called ibrutinib, could spare blood cancer patients the sometimes agonising side effects of traditional

A revolutionary drug, called ibrutinib, that ‘switches off’ cancer may soon be offered to patients with some forms of the disease. Stock photo
A revolutionary drug, called ibrutinib, that ‘switches off’ cancer may soon be offered to patients with some forms of the disease.

Ibrutinib is one of only a handful of new medicines to be made available via the Cancer Drugs Fund after two trials in 28 British hospitals showed it to be extremely effective in treating both mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). read more

The Silliness of Settled Science

By: the Common Constitutionalist

How often have we heard the ridiculous claim that such and such a science is settled?

It doesn’t matter what it is and normally there is a political component attached to it, but we’ve heard it hundreds of times on a myriad of different topics ranging from salt to sugar to fatty foods to energy drinks to coffee to fracking to how much sleep we need and of course the grand daddy of them all – global warming.

For decades experts preached the settled science that milk is rich in calcium and will build strong bones, yet in October of last year Forbes published a saltstudy from Sweden that found milk not only didn’t strengthen bones but was bad for the heart.

How long we’ve been warned by the American Heart Association regarding our salt intake? We were all going to die because we consume too much salt. The New England Journal of Medicine even published a study entitled “Global Sodium Consumption and Death from Cardiovascular Causes.”
The study concluded that salt kills 1.65 million people a year worldwide. It’s the New England Journal of Medicine so naturally it must be settled science – right?

Not quite. That same auguste Journal later published a study that says the Heart Association’s maximum intake of salt is so low it might actually pose a danger. So is this the new settled science? Who are we to believe? read more