medicine

Chinese scientists raise eyebrows, genetically modify human embryos

Chinese scientists raise eyebrows, genetically modify human embryos

Scientists in China have genetically modified human embryos, embarking on a slippery slope that could be capable of a calamitous ripple effect in human offspring. Scholarship aside, the ethics questions that sprout from genetically altering human embryos are innumerable. In a paper published by the journal Protein and Cell, a research team in GuangZhou, China, headed by Junjiu Huang, detailed their process and results of genetic editing. The gene in question is responsible for β-thalassaemia, which is a blood disorder that can be potentially fatal. Researchers used the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to edit the genes. As a matter of ethics, the researchers only used "non-viable" embryos that would be unable to make it to a live birth.

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Researchers might finally have a fix for the color blind

Researchers might finally have a fix for the color blind

Despite our many advancements in technology, there are still some biological matters that continue to confound and befuddle us. It might come as a surprise to many that color blindness, a condition that affects more than 10 million in the US alone, is one of those. But hopefully not anymore. Jay and Maureen Neitz, husband and wife researchers from the University of Washington, may finally have a way to fix this genetic mutation to help those affected by it to see in color again. And it won't even require surgery.

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New Ebola-proof tablet designed for medical field workers

New Ebola-proof tablet designed for medical field workers

Ebola field doctors' need for an "Ebola-proof" tablet is finally filled. Hose it down with de-contaminating bleach, and all of the data will still be safe as its virus-free exterior. Here's something you probably never considered about the world's Ebola outbreaks: How can doctors and nurses keep track of patient data when every piece of paper, pen, and clipboard becomes contaminated just by being in the hot zone? As it turns out, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the doctors were shouting patient data over makeshift barricades to avoid spreading the contagion.

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Bioprinter 3D-prints living cartilage nose in 16 minutes

Bioprinter 3D-prints living cartilage nose in 16 minutes

While traditional 3D-printers build objects using layers of plastic, we've seem some great strides in 3D-printing like lattices emerging from amorphous, resinous goo. Now bioprinters are entering the ring with their ability to create 3D models from biological materials. There's no need to wait for an ear to grow on the back of a mouse; this bioprinter from the ETH Zurich Cartilage Engineering and Regeneration Group can print a nose from biopolymers and living cartilage cells in only 16 minutes. Best of all, no mice are harmed in the process!

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New Narbis neurofeedback glasses force you to concentrate

New Narbis neurofeedback glasses force you to concentrate

It's so easy to get distracted these days when we really need to focus. A new set of glasses may hold the key to honing your concentration. These glasses aren't prescription strength; they actually darken when you become unfocused which trains your brain to concentrate so the lenses stay clear. Perhaps calling them glasses is a bit of a misnomer. It's actually the Narbis wearable neurofeedback device. Narbis is hoping to take the focus-improving science of neurofeedback out of a clinical setting and bring it to everyone through Kickstarter.

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Heart-on-a-chip tests drugs’ cardiotoxicity with its real heartbeat

Heart-on-a-chip tests drugs’ cardiotoxicity with its real heartbeat

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. Recently the bio-tech industry has been exploding with cardiac research like last week's heart attack preventing nanobots. New research by the team at the University of California, Berkley has created working human heart cells on a tiny chip designed to test the efficacy of new drugs in clinical trials. This heart-on-a-chip is officially known as a cardiac microphysiological system, or MPS. Using this heart-on-a-chip, scientists can measure the potential cardiac damage of a drug before it reaches expensive human trials.

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MatchGrid pioneers a six-way kidney donation chain

MatchGrid pioneers a six-way kidney donation chain

Organ transplant lists are notoriously long. Sometimes a patient in need has to wait years to receive a transplant, if they are lucky enough to receive one at all. The most successful transplants come from living donors, but a faithful friend isn't always a medical match to her friend in need. Enter MatchGrid, a biomedical program designed to match potential kidney donors and recipients. MatchGrid was created by former WIRED editor and kidney recipient David Jacobs. His program established a method to match twelve people and create a six-way kidney transplant chain.

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Targeted nano-particles can now prevent heart attacks

Targeted nano-particles can now prevent heart attacks

Soon it may be possible to prevent heart attacks by an injection of nano-particles into the bloodstream, according to the newest research paper from the scientists at Columbia University Medical Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. A large part of that is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This occurs as plaques build up along the inside of the arterial wall. The research team created targeted nano-particles designed to heal atherosclerosis. This is the latest discovery in a growing field of pint-sized medical discoveries. We've seen robots that can swim inside your eyeball and smart pills, but nothing as small as this nano-treatment.

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VetiGel is a plant-based gel that can stop bleeding instantly

VetiGel is a plant-based gel that can stop bleeding instantly

When a massive injury occurs, and there’s bleeding involved, time is essential. Often times, emergency medical personnel are on-scene, but have little recourse to do more than get you somewhere else quickly. A place that has the equipment necessary to help you get through the trauma and (hopefully) live. A new syrum, named VetiGel, could change that. The plant-based material can be affixed to human tissue to stop bleeding rapidly. It’s not yet widely available, but is being trialled at veterinary clinics.

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Micro-scallop robot can swim through blood, eyeballs

Micro-scallop robot can swim through blood, eyeballs

Some of us might imagine robots to be big hulking contraptions of mass destruction, but one of the applications of robotics and science goes in the opposite direction, scaling down these objects so that they could be used for medical purposes. But alas, the laws of physics, as often is the case, hinder instead of help, preventing microscopic robots from swimming inside our bodies for whatever purposes. Prof. Peer Fischer and his research team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany, however, might have found a way around that limitation.

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