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New toilet seat to monitor heart health

The Rochester Institute of Technology in the US have developed a toilet seat that is capable of monitor the patient’s heart health. Able to monitor blood pressure, oxygen levels and heart rate - as well as the different types of activity on the heart - the device is said to be able to help patients monitor signs for heart failures, strokes and weight.  As a result, patients are able to determine whether or not hospital admission is necessary, and detect symptoms and signs of a condition before the patient has begun noticing. Therefore, healthcare systems will be more likely to treat the condition as early as possible, and thus has have a better chance to treating it.  “Typically, within 30 days of hospital discharge, 25 per cent of patients with congestive heart failur

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Skin cells to be printed directly onto wounds with new mobile bio printer

Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have developed a device which can print skin cells that would be able to help treat wounds such as burns and diabetic ulcers.  The device is able to scan a location of the body (the wound) which can then send data to a software. As a result, the bio printer can then print cells - created using a combination of the patient’s skin cells and a hydrogel which when mixed creates a printable biomaterial - and administer them directly onto the wound, layer by layer.  “The unique aspect of this technology is the mobility of the system and the ability to provide on-site management of extensive wounds by scanning and measuring them in order to deposit the cells directly where they are needed to create skin,” said

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First prosthetic hand with sensations successfully implanted

A patient with an amputated hand in Sweden has received the first prosthetic, fitted with tactile sensations, researched and developed by Dr Max Ortiz, alongside other key universities such as Essex University. The new prosthetic hand is said to allow recipients to have greater levels of dexterity, not to mention the new ability to feel. It is able to do this by using titanium implants to send electrodes that mimic the ability to feel, sending the identical information to the brain. This is a significant breakthrough in the medical field as current prosthetic hands can only manage a limited amount of movements, such as opening and closing the hand, as well ass a limited amount of sensory feedback. Following this procedure, the patient is now learning how to load the hand alone wit

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Copper Bioactive Glass Implant to treat bone infection

A group of researchers for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have developed a form of glass implant which uses a high amount of copper - said to treat the bone infection osteomyelitis.  The team discovered that bioactive glass with copper is able to promote bone growth and kill bacteria simultaneously, and therefore no need for antibiotics or further treatment. It works by attracting blood cells and bone cells to the source so increase bone growth rapidly, whilst fighting the chance of bacteria growing and spreading. They have claimed it will speed the healing process and is a major improvement on current treatments.  “Osteomyelitis is notoriously difficult to treat,” said first author Emily Ryan, a recently qualified PhD student in the RCSI Department of Anatomy

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New Synthetics able to mimic protein behaviour

A team at Liverpool University have created a new material which is able to mimic proteins. Designed using metal ions and small peptide molecules, the new porous synthetic has a similar structural change and chemical activity to the proteins.  “These porous materials use the same atomic-scale mechanisms as proteins to switch between structures, which gives us the opportunity to develop new ways to manipulate and change molecules with synthetic materials that are inspired by biology,” said research lead Matt Rosseinsky, a professor of chemistry at Liverpool University. “This offers exciting scientific possibilities, for example in catalysis, through the design of materials that can dynamically select the structure needed for a particular task.” Claimed to be the first

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Autonomous vehicles coming quicker than we think?

The Joint European Torus (JET), based in Oxfordshire, UK, is known for housing the largest fusion reactor in the world and carries out a large amount of research when it comes to nuclear fusion. Their latest project, however, is more than just studying nuclear fusion, but researching ways to use nuclear fusion in autonomous vehicles.   Using a test called RACE, the team at JET have been researching ways nuclear fusion can help support robotic devices and their development. The installation of equipment into extremely small space caused the reactor shell to activate by neutron bombardment, in turn causing a nuclear fusion reaction which can be used within nuclear fusion studies but also outside.  “We are increasingly concerned with decommissioning, not just at Sellafield b

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New insoles to treat diabetic ulcers

A new show insole has been developed by Purdue University in order to help prevent amputation of toes, feet and legs of diabetics who are currently suffering from diabetic ulcers. The insoles have been designed to slowly release oxygen to the foot, which in turn heals the ulcers and allows the user to be able to regain more mobility.  Diabetic ulcers are caused by damaged nerves which causes skin tissue to disintegrate as well as the lack of feeling, meaning that damage to the foot can go unnoticed, and therefore doesn’t receive the appropriate treatment.  “We typically treat ulcers by removing devitalised tissue from the surface of the wound, and by helping the patient to find ways to take the weight off the affected foot,” said Desmond Bell, a podiatrist in wound ma

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Paralysis in three patients treated with electrical simulation.

A medical breakthrough by GTX Medical, led by the Swiss professors Grégoire Courtine and Bloch, has enabled three patients, all suffering with chronic paraplegia, to walk again thanks to wireless electrical simulation.  The wireless implant is inserted onto the spinal cord where it contains a multitude of electrodes which can send specific messages to specific muscle groups, just as the brain would.  “Selected configurations of electrodes are activating specific regions of the spinal cord, mimicking the signals that the brain would deliver to produce walking,” said Prof Jocelyne Bloch, a neuroscientist at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV/Unil). Each of the patients who undertook the electrical simulation found that not only could they move and control their paraly

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General Motors and Honda partner up for new autonomous project

The Japanese company, Honda, has announced that after following the success of electric vehicles with General Motors, they will be partnering up again to design and produce an autonomous vehicle. It is said that the project will create a vehicle which can be used for a variety of uses and will be deployed globally. Contributing a whopping $2bn towards the project, Cruise, Honda is planning to build the vehicles on a large scale.  “This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” said General Motors chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as

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Deep blood pressure to be measured through a new ultrasound patch

The University of California San Diego have designed and produced a non-invasive ultrasound patch which can measure blood pressure in arteries and veins - a task that normal wearable devices would not be able to perform as they can only measure surface readings. “By integrating ultrasound technology into wearables, we can start to capture a whole lot of other signals, biological events and activities going on way below the surface in a non-invasive manner,” said research leader Sheng Xu, a professor of nanoengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Created using silicone elastomer and small electronic components, the new ultrasound patch is said to be able to measure depths as great as 4cm below the surface of the skin. In addition to this, using a patch which can be attach

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