medical

DARPA’s new prosthetic limb lets paralyzed man feel objects

Prosthetic limbs have become nearly science fiction-like in their sophistication, allowing the human mind to control robotic arms and hands in a way similar to how one controls their own limbs. DARPA is counted among the research entities developing this technology, and it has recently taken it a step further, using neurotechnology to enable a paralyzed individual to "feel" objects through a prosthesis. The prosthetic is sensitive enough that sensations touching each finger could be discerned individually.

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Scientists test algae for potential cure for blindness

It may sound far out, but tests are about begin to see if a protein from algae could help cure blindness in humans. Found in dirt and water, the single-cell green algae is known as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and its eyespot, used to find sunlight for photosynthesis, contains the protein channelrhodopsin-2. This protein is sensitive to light in a way similar to the human eye, and scientists as the company RetroSense have been given FDA approval for clinical trials to inject it into the retina of the blind, with the hope it could one day lead to a cure.

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Scientists plan to reanimate 30,000 year old Siberian virus

Scientist have announced a plan to reanimate an ancient giant virus that was discovered in the frozen wastes of Siberia. The virus is called Mollivirus sibericum and is the fourth pre-historic virus to be discovered since 2003. It is the second ancient virus to be discovered by this team. The scientists say that they plan to determine if the virus could cause harm animals or humans before waking it.

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Google to work with Sanofi on diabetes research

Leading diabetes medication makers Sanofi will be working with Google in the near future on the monitoring and treatment of the condition. In the near future this Google Live Sciences division will be split off into its own company under Alphabet. For now, it's still inside Google. Google Live Sciences is currently led by Andrew Conrad who suggests that this Sanofi partnership is just one of many made in the recent past to grow Google Life Science's involvement in medication, software, medical devices, and computing infrastructure.

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9-year-old gets ‘awesome’ gesture-controlled bionic arm

Josh Cathcart is a nine-year-old boy who was born missing a portion of his right arm, something that resulted in bullying and made life harder for him. Those troubles have been greatly minimized thanks to a new bionic arm from Touch Bionics, making him the first kid in the United Kingdom to get one of the company’s i-limb quantum prosthetics. The arm is functional, allowing him to grip items as small as LEGOs and do things for himself that he previously had trouble doing. This is said to be the first prosthetic hand able to alter its grip using gestures.

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Digital pen might one day help detect brain conditions

Brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's can have a severe impact on people later in their life, and one of the biggest problems is detecting them early enough for effective treatments to begin. One way that doctors check for early signs is through patient's drawing irregularities, i.e. distortions in shapes and how long it takes to finish a drawing. Unfortunately, these irregularities, like signs of brain diseases, can be easily overlooked due to a doctor's opinion. But MIT researchers think a digital pen with tracking software could help improve detection.

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Research suggests music might one day help with epilepsy treatments

A group of researchers from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have made a new discovery about those with epilepsy and how the brain processes music. The team, led by neurologist Christine Charyton, based their research on the fact that 80% of epileptic seizures begin in the temporal lobes, the same region of the brain as the auditory cortex, the part that processes sound and music. The discovery is that the brainwaves of those with the disorder tend to synchronize with music.

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3D printed medicine gets FDA stamp of approval

Is there anything 3D printing can't do these days? From toys, to chocolate, to dog legs, to house parts. And now we even have 3D printed drugs. Now that in itself isn't really a novel feat, considering 3D printed food. The success that Aprecia Pharmaceuticals achieved is in actually getting the US Food and Drug Administration to approve it. This makes its SPRITRAM seizure drug to be the first 3D printed medication to receive FDA approval, perhaps opening the doors to even more such products in the future.

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ReWalk exoskeleton allows paraplegic to walk the streets and stairs

ReWalk Robotics has an exoskeleton that is designed to allow paraplegics to walk again. That exoskeleton is called the ReWalk Personal 6.0. The man strapped on the exoskeleton and used it to walk up and down the streets of New York City. ReWalk says that it always intended the exoskeleton to be used in the community and that it didn't want to create a device only usable in physical therapy settings.

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Prick-free way to monitor glucose might be the future

Diabetes is nothing to take lightly but many of its life-threatening dangers can be avoided by vigilance. Sadly, despite our hi-tech age, monitoring blood sugar levels still feels almost medieval, drawing a drop of blood to feed into portable glucometers. Luckily, science and technology might be on the verge of coming up with less invasive means to measure glucose levels. At the University of Leeds in the UK, a small device utilizes lasers to do all the measuring, and it's low-powered enough not to do any damage to your skin, much less prick it.

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Researchers use bone powder, bio-glue to 3D print bones

This Friday's dose of macabre comes courtesy of researchers in China who are testing a new method to 3D print bones. The bones aren't like past 3D printing attempts we've heard of, however -- they are being printed using powered bones and a biological glue. Past efforts have seen researchers using metal elements for printing 3D bones as potential medical implants, but this latest method is producing potentially implantable bones that made entirely of, you know, bones ground into a powder.

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