Image: two men sitting in a laboratory, testing a device; Copyright:L.A. Cicero

Artificial synapse for neural networks

22/02/2017

For all the improvements in computer technology over the years, we still struggle to recreate the low-energy, elegant processing of the human brain. Now, researchers at Stanford University and Sandia National Laboratories have made an advance that could help computers mimic one piece of the brain's efficient design - an artificial version of the space over which neurons communicate, a synapse.
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Image: a red DNA and blue background; Copyright: ASU

Switched-on DNA to spark nano-electronic applications

22/02/2017

Much like flipping your light switch at home - only on a scale 1,000 times smaller than a human hair - an ASU-led team has now developed the first controllable DNA switch to regulate the flow of electricity within a single, atomic-sized molecule.
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Image: Different kinds of nuts; Copyright: panthermedia.net/fotokris44

Hard shell - healthy kernel

10/02/2017

Roasted and salted, ground as a baking ingredient or fresh from the shell - for all those who enjoy eating nuts, there is good news from nutritionists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). Their latest research shows that nuts can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
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Image: A laboratory automaton on a laboratory bench; Copyright: G. L. Kohuth/Michigan State University

Faster way of detecting bacteria

08/02/2017

Brett Etchebarne, an assistant professor of emergency medicine in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, has created a molecular diagnostic system that can identify dangerous bacteria such as E. coli, staph infections, and even some superbugs.
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Image: blue, green and pink lines with a black background; Copyright: Hoffman-Kim lab/Brown University

With mini-vessels, mini-brains expand research potential

03/02/2017

Scientists have recently made a wondrous variety of mini-brains - 3-D cultures of neural cells that model basic properties of living brains - but a new finding could add to the field's growing excitement in an entirely new "vein": Brown University's mini-brains now grow blood vessels, too.
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Image:E.coli in green and blue  ; Copyright: The University of Exeter

Antibiotics can boost bacterial reproduction

31/01/2017

The growth of bacteria can be stimulated by antibiotics, scientists at the University of Exeter have discovered.
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Image: Neurites in a Fiber, everthing in green, ; Copyright: EPFL

Nanometric imprinting on fiber

25/01/2017

Researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonic Materials and Fibre Devices, which is run by Fabien Sorin, have come up with a simple and innovative technique for drawing or imprinting complex, nanometric patterns on hollow polymer fibers.
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Image: A wooden plate with nuts and grains on it and a card with the letter E; Copyright: panthermedia.net/13-smile

Millions of people with metabolic syndrome may need more vitamin E

20/01/2017

New research has shown that people with metabolic syndrome need significantly more vitamin E - which could be a serious public health concern, in light of the millions of people who have this condition that's often related to obesity.
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Image: A microfluidic device constructed of tubing and Teflon connectors; Copyright: IPC PAS, Grzegorz Krzyzewski

New type of monitoring: life of bacteria in microdroplets

12/01/2017

In the future, it will be possible to carry out tests of new drugs on bacteria much more efficiently using microfluidic devices, since each of the hundreds and thousands of droplets moving through the microchannels can act as separate incubators.
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Image: 3D image of a brain, one part is highlighted red; Copyright: panthermedia.net/vampy1

Protein associated with Parkinson's travels from brain to gut

06/01/2017

Researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) have found that "alpha-synuclein", a protein involved in a series of neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease, is capable of travelling from brain to stomach and that it does so following a specific pathway. Donato Di Monte and co-workers report on this in the journal "Acta Neuropathologica".
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Image: Diagram of a cell; Copyright: ETH Zurich

New weapon against Diabetes

23/12/2016

ETH Researchers have used the simplest approach yet to produce artificial beta cells from human kidney cells. Like their natural model, the artificial cells act as both sugar sensors and insulin producers.
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Image: A quadcopter drone with an attached transport box; Copyright: John Hopkins Medicine

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

22/12/2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature and cellular integrity while transported by drones.
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Image: Graphic of an ebola virus against a blue background; Copyright: panthermedia.net/krishna creations

Who am I? Viruses on Nanosprings

21/12/2016

Within the scope of the VIRUSCAN project that is funded by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Union, Dr. Charlotte Uetrecht from Hamburg/Germany investigates individual viruses to be able to later identify them on a nanospring structure. MEDICA.de wanted to know: how does this work?
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Image: Graphic of a green ball with purple logs attached to it; Copyright: Victor Kostyuchenko, Duke-NUS Medical School

First steps to neutralizing Zika

28/11/2016

As Zika spreads throughout the world, the call for rapid development of therapeutics to treat Zika rings loud and clear. Taking a step further in identifying a possible therapeutic candidate, a team of researchers have discovered the mechanism by which C10, a human antibody previously identified to react with the Dengue virus, prevents Zika infection at a cellular level.
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Image: User interface of a software; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München

Cell under observation: "The software lets us study the development on video"

08/08/2016

What happens when stem cells differentiate? What molecular characteristics do they have? Questions that can now be easier answered with the help of a new open-source software. We spoke with Prof. Fabian Theis at the Helmholtz Center Munich, who participated in the software development.
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Photo: Hospital  bed

Textiles used in hospitals and medical offices – germs don’t stand a chance

01/06/2016

Some hospitals have long banned the status symbol of physicians – the white coat. Research has shown that especially the sleeves were contaminated with various types of bacteria. But it’s not just lab coats that can spread germs in healthcare settings. This field uses a variety of different textiles. Wouldn’t it, therefore, make sense to apply antimicrobial finishes?
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Photo: ceramic joints

Knee at your fingertips

22/04/2016

How can you print ceramics, what purpose do they have and how benefits medical technology? Answers provides Dr. Tassilo Moritz from Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS.
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Photo: DNA section

Human Genetics: "Physicians should be able to counsel patients on the process"

01/04/2016

Human genetics is the study of the genetic makeup of human beings. DNA, chromosomes, and genes are extensively analyzed by medical specialists. Physicians of Germany need to have a qualification in genetic counseling to successfully advise patients.
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Photo: Old woman with a smartphone

Health Apps: "Mobile Applications for smartphones have strengths and weaknesses"

22/03/2016

Medical apps like diabetes or high blood pressure diaries are becoming increasingly popular with smartphone users. There are many available choices out there but they are not always clear. Added to this is the question of how the data collected by the apps can be sensibly incorporated into treatment.
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Graphic: The pancreas and the surrounding organs

Pancreatic cancer: diagnosis via signature analysis

08/03/2016

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer because it is difficult to diagnose and only presents with symptoms in the later stages. In the future, a laboratory test developed at the Greifswald University Medicine could make an early detection of this type of cancer and consequently a faster and better treatment possible.
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Photo: Researcher is looking at a microfluidic LabDisc

Point-of-care-testing: from disc to diagnosis

22/02/2016

Easy solutions that deliver results quickly are a great asset in medicine: patients receive their diagnosis faster and physicians have more time to treat them. Such tools also work without sophisticated resources and trained personal. A device currently developed in a project funded by the European Commission could bring all of this to point-of-care-testing for infectious diseases.
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Graphic of the operation

Filling bone defects – replacement tissue with its own blood supply

01/02/2016

First grow tissue in the lab, then insert it into patients when they need it and you’re done! Unfortunately, things are not as easy as people hoped at the onset of “tissue engineering”. Although robust tissues for bone defects can be grown in a petri dish, for example, they unfortunately quickly die off again inside the body if there is no corresponding nutrient supply.
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Photo: Pregnancy test

Disaster medicine or disastrous medicine?

04/01/2016

Most Europeans think it was a long time ago, but the residents of West Africa clearly feel the consequences of the Ebola epidemic that broke out in December 2013 and still continues today. So far, approximately 11,300 people have died as a result of the outbreak; more than 28,000 contracted the disease.
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Photo: Ebola test

Ebola: detection strips instead of lab tests

04/01/2016

When infectious diseases such as Ebola break out, a rapid diagnosis is important because the early detection of a virus along with the right hygiene measures can prevent its continued spread. However, laboratories and skilled personnel are not available everywhere. Low-cost and portable detection strips can bring relief.
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Photo: white jeep

Rapid Tests: valuable helpers for use in the field

04/01/2016

Infectious diseases are widespread in conflict areas. When basic medical care is lacking on location, people cannot be appropriately treated. Laboratory tests are limited in the field. Rapid diagnostic tests make it possible for medical personnel to quickly and accurately test patients for several infectious diseases, for instance for the presence of malaria or HIV infection.
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Photo: Small POC test kit for blood samples; Copyright: bate-web/Spelleken

Nutrition: finding intolerances in the blood

27/11/2015

More and more people suffer from allergies and food intolerances. Laboratory diagnosis for these often takes long and can be inaccurate. Healthcare practitioners increasingly rely on point-of-care tests to avoid costly laboratory tests and quickly find solutions for their patients.
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Photo: laboratory staff evaluating DNA

Direct-To-Consumer Testing: the business with lifestyle tests

08/10/2015

The many possibilities the Internet offers also don’t shy away from laboratory medicine. The demand for biochemical or genetic tests continues to rise. Next to standard laboratory tests, a market developed in which the patient is the immediate recipient of clinical results. New distribution channels eliminate the physician as the responsible party.
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Wanted: rapid test to prevent deep vein thrombosis

01/07/2015

Deep vein thrombosis is not just a risk factor for frequent flyers but also for wearers of cardiovascular implants and newly operated patients. Blood thinners prevent these dangerous blood clots from forming, but they need to be carefully adjusted and do not work the same way in every patient. A detailed analysis of platelets (thrombocytes) could prevent complications in the future.
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Photo: Mini organ chip

Mini synthetic organism: When the heart beats on a chip

08/06/2015

Replicating the human organism in a mini format – researchers at the Fraunhofer IWS braved this challenge. They developed a compact system where different physical processes can be imitated on a chip. It is also possible to copy cardiac and pulmonary functions.
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Cancer Immunotherapy: Individual mutations as new target structures

01/06/2015

A tumor is as unique as the person who is affected by it. For a long time, it was assumed this would make treatment more difficult since cancer drugs are not able to be one hundred percent effective in targeting the affected cells. In this interview with MEDICA.de, Professor Ugur Sahin explains why it is precisely these individual mutations that make him hopeful for a new type of therapy.
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Tumor markers: State-of-the-art diagnostics for personalized medicine

01/06/2015

When cancer is diagnosed, the terms tumor markers or biomarkers keep popping up. They describe characteristics that are not found in healthy persons. The classic tumor markers can be easily detected in blood samples or other body fluids. Other analysis methods require more effort. Yet they all share one thing in common: biomarkers indicate a potential tumor.
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Hospital crisis communication: A crisis knows no rules

02/03/2015

Crises come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s poor hygiene, thefts or treatment errors – once the crisis has arrived, things need to move quickly. For hospitals in particular, the right crisis communication is key. Yet many medical facilities still neglect the fact that crisis communication starts before the actual crisis takes place.
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Photo: Tissue sections on object slides

Digital pathology: From microscope slide to virtual microscopy

02/02/2015

The digitization of medicine moves on. Researchers, physicians and patients equally benefit from this development – thanks to improved diagnostics with highly sensitive devices, today findings can be comprehensively analyzed and treatment decisions made on a broadened basis. Digitization also offers the area of pathology interesting fields of application.
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Photo: Object slides

Tissue storage: "Our top biobanks are internationally leading the charge"

02/02/2015

Only projects with a solid foundation are successful in the long run. This is also true for science. Biobanks are the most important component of this foundation when it comes to fundamental biomedical research: Only high quality tissue samples that are stored there make conclusive research possible - for example in search of the causes of tumorigenesis.
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Photo: device for standardized wounds

ARTcut: Standardized injury of skin models for wound healing research

08/12/2014

Comparative research models are indispensable in wound healing research to evaluate new treatments of chronic wounds. Consequently, studies need to exhibit equivalent basic prerequisites and be conducted on similar wounds. This is why a team of researchers is working on an automated process to place standardized wounds in skin models.
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Xenon magnetic resonance imaging: making pathological changes in the body visible

03/11/2014

As an imaging procedure, magnetic resonance tomography has become essential in clinical practice, since it can easily make organs and tissue visible. However, until now abnormal cancer cells or small centers of inflammation remained almost invisible. Now cell biologists from Berlin, Germany, have succeeded in fixing this problem with xenon magnetic resonance imaging.
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Photo: Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt

Laboratory in Space: Hot on the Trails of Cartilage Degradation

01/10/2014

On November 10, 2014, astronaut Alexander Gerst will return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). He is not just anxiously expected by his family, but also by Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt from the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University Cologne
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Photo: Spinal disc stress simulator

Spinal disc herniation: causal research with the simulator

01/10/2014

Herniated discs can have very different effects: some cause no discomfort and are only discovered by accident; others can cause paralysis or cause patients to be in great pain. For the most part, these problems develop suddenly after an awkward movement – at least that is what patients report.
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Cultured skin makes large-scale transplantations possible

01/07/2014

Large burns require skin grafting. Surgeons remove split-thickness skin grafts and apply them to the injured areas. Now skin that has been made in a laboratory is meant to help in covering burns as well as chronic wounds and thus promote the healing process. Researchers in Zurich have been working on this for more than 13 years.
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Fat is the best medicine: "Adipose tissue contains many multipotent stem cells, approximately 500 times more than bone marrow"

01/07/2014

The not so popular “love handles“ could revolutionize medicine in the near future. In cooperation with the University of Rostock (Professor Hermann Seitz), the human med AG Company currently seeks to develop a device that is able to gently remove adipose tissue during surgery and subsequently isolate stem cells.
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Graphic: Space station

"Studies involving microgravity suggest stem cells will grow faster in space"

22/04/2014

The International Space Station ISS is not only the largest artificial object in space. It is also a laboratory for physicists, chemists, biologists and physicians and orbits earth at 28.000 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 400 kilometers. Thanks to this location, the ISS could one day make an important contribution to regenerative medicine.
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"We don’t know why certain pharmaceuticals bind especially well while others bind barely at all"

10/02/2014

Prof. Joachim Heberle from the Free University of Berlin wants to make the smallest protein structures visible under the microscope. He wants to accomplish this with an infrared microscope, originating in the field of physics. He told MEDICA.de which technology is behind all this and what he also wants to examine with it in the future.
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"The Virus Manipulates the Host Cell on Different Levels"

08/01/2014

Heart diseases can be triggered by special viruses that affect the cardiac muscle. Preventive drugs could definitely be developed – if the virus does not mutate.
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Study approach: surgical trials mean more safety in the operating room

06/01/2014

Whether a surgical suture is better applied manually or with a surgical stapler can be determined through trial and error. Determining which method guarantees patient safety best should also not just be based on a surgeon’s experience. Controlled studies are the method of choice to assess both well-proven and new techniques in the operating room.
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