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Archive for the ‘health’ category

Jun 27, 2020

Brilliant neurosurgeon Todd Mainprize found a new pathway to the brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

If Dr. Mainprize felt proud of his role in the breakthrough, he didn’t show it.

He was well aware of the significance of this achievement; it was potentially the key to tackling a wide range of illnesses, from brain cancer to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease – illnesses that are currently impossible or hard to cure. But he also knew he and his team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre still had a long way to go before their work translated into actual treatment for patients, said his close friend and colleague Nir Lipsman.

Jun 27, 2020

The technologies the world is using to track coronavirus — and people

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, drones, education, health, robotics/AI, wearables

Now that the world is in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, governments are quickly deploying their own cocktails of tracking methods. These include device-based contact tracing, wearables, thermal scanning, drones, and facial recognition technology. It’s important to understand how those tools and technologies work and how governments are using them to track not just the spread of the coronavirus, but the movements of their citizens.

Contact tracing is one of the fastest-growing means of viral tracking. Although the term entered the common lexicon with the novel coronavirus, it’s not a new practice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says contact tracing is “a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades.”

Traditionally, contact tracing involves a trained public health professional interviewing an ill patient about everyone they’ve been in contact with and then contacting those people to provide education and support, all without revealing the identity of the original patient. But in a global pandemic, that careful manual method cannot keep pace, so a more automated system is needed.

Jun 25, 2020

Protein pair form entry tunnel for bad cholesterol to enter cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

While some cholesterol is a healthy thing for properly functioning cells, too much of it can cause blockages in the arteries and heart trouble, along with a host of other negative health outcomes. Scientists have discovered a new mechanism by which a “bad” type of cholesterol gains entry to the cells, identifying a pair of proteins that work like an entry tunnel. These proteins show promise as new targets for drugs that could lower cholesterol levels in the blood to help prevent disease.

The discovery made by an international team of researchers was only possible thanks to advances in imaging technology that enabled them to inspect proteins at a near-atomic level. In this case, the team were investigating the role two proteins, NPC1 and NPC2, play in transporting low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, into our cells.

“Before 2013 we often had to theorise about how membrane proteins worked and how they functioned, but now we can actually see them, and seeing is believing,” says study author Prof Rob Yang from the UNSW in Australia. “We were able to look at the NPC1 and NPC2 proteins and see exactly the role they play in transporting this LDL cholesterol into the cell.”

Jun 24, 2020

As coronavirus rages in India, billionaires and startups team up

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

The loose alliance, whose backers include Infosys Ltd. co-founders Nandan Nilekani and Kris Gopalakrishnan as well as prominent startups from Practo to Policybazaar, will be formally unveiled as soon as this week in an attempt to salvage a decrepit system by digitizing everything from patient data and records to creating online platforms for hospital care and doctor consultations. Called Swasth — meaning health in Hindi — its 100-plus members have pledged to build new services and coordinate efforts to improve emergency responses.


Some of India’s richest people form an alliance with tech entrepreneurs to fix the country’s broken healthcare system.

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Jun 23, 2020

Pioneering research reveals certain human genes relate to gut bacteria

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, neuroscience

The role genetics and gut bacteria play in human health has long been a fruitful source of scientific enquiry, but new research marks a significant step forward in unraveling this complex relationship. Its findings could transform our understanding and treatment of all manner of common diseases, including obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The international study, led by the University of Bristol and published today in Nature Microbiology, found specific changes in DNA — the chains of molecules comprising our genetic make-up — affected both the existence and amount of particular bacteria in the gut.

Lead author Dr David Hughes, Senior Research Associate in Applied Genetic Epidemiology, said: “Our findings represent a significant breakthrough in understanding how genetic variation affects gut bacteria. Moreover, it marks major progress in our ability to know whether changes in our gut bacteria actually cause, or are a consequence of, human disease.”

Jun 23, 2020

‘Janus’ nanorods convert light to heat that can destroy pollutants in water

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, health, nanotechnology, particle physics, sustainability

With a new nanoparticle that converts light to heat, a team of researchers has found a promising technology for clearing water of pollutants.

Trace amounts of contaminants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals and perfluorooctanoic acid in drinking water sources have posed significant health risks to humans in recent years. These micropollutants have eluded conventional treatment processes, but certain chemical processes that typically involve ozone, hydrogen peroxide or UV light have proven effective. These processes, however, can be expensive and energy-intensive.

A new nanoparticle created by Yale University engineers as part of an effort for the Rice-based Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) could lead to technologies that get around those limitations. The particle is described in a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jun 20, 2020

Master of Your Immune System: The Thymus and Gene Therapy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Liz Parrish and Integrated Health Systems discuss the thymus, an organ that is essential to healthy immune function.

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Jun 17, 2020

Israeli AI firm that offers early COVID-19 detection gets FDA approval

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, robotics/AI

CLEW, an Israeli medtech firm specializing in real-time AI analytics platforms, received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its “Predictive Analytics Platform in Support of COVID-19 Patients,” the company announced Tuesday.

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) solution was given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA so that it may be implemented within the United States’ health system as soon as possible.

Jun 15, 2020

Cutting-edge research shows that making art benefits the brain

Posted by in categories: biological, health, media & arts, neuroscience

In other words, practicing the arts can be used to build capacity for managing one’s mental and emotional well-being.

Neuroesthetics — With recent advances in biological, cognitive, and neurological science, there are new forms of evidence on the arts and the brain. For example, researchers have used biofeedback to study the effects of visual art on neural circuits and neuroendocrine markers to find biological evidence that visual art promotes health, wellness, and fosters adaptive responses to stress.

Jun 13, 2020

Israeli researchers explain how they are healing the world with precision

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, health, information science

Data governs our lives more than ever. But when it comes to disease and death, every data point is a person, someone who became sick and needed treatment.

Recent studies have revealed that people suffering from the same disease category may have different manifestations. As doctors and scientists better understand the reasons underlying this variability, they can develop novel preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and provide optimal, personalized care for every patient.

To accomplish this goal often requires broadscale collaborations between physicians, basic researchers, theoreticians, experimentalists, computational biologists, computer scientists and data scientists, engineers, statisticians, epidemiologists and others. They must work together to integrate scientific and medical knowledge, theory, analysis of medical big data and extensive experimental work.

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