Image: Laboratory device emitting a green beam of light; Copyright: University of Adelaide

Developing a sensor for vitamin B12 deficiency


University of Adelaide researchers have developed a world-first optical sensor that can detect vitamin B12 in diluted human blood - a first step towards a low-cost, portable, broadscale vitamin B12 deficiency test. Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
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Image: Pills lying on a sheet of paper. The word

Antibody function may help keep tuberculosis infection under control


A study led by investigators from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard finds evidence that antibody protection may help control infection with the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).
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Image: Different pills laying on a table; Copyright: / motorolka

Computational method identifies existing drugs with virus-fighting potential


A new, computer-based screening method could reveal the virus-fighting potential of drugs originally developed to treat other conditions, reports a study in PLOS Computational Biology.
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Image: Peroxiredoxin Function; Copyright: Graphic courtesy of Oregon State University

Protein could open door to new class of antibiotics


Researchers have made the first-ever detailed, atomic-level images of a peroxiredoxin, which has revealed a peculiar characteristic of this protein and might form the foundation for a new approach to antibiotics.
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Image: blood samples in test tubes; Copyright: USMC/Wikimedia Commons

People with type O blood more likely to die of cholera


People with blood type O often get more severely ill from cholera than people of other blood types. New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may explain why.
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Image: a 3-D printed multimaterial shape-memory minigripper; Copyright: Photo courtesy of Qi (Kevin) Ge

3-D-printed structures "remember" their shapes


Engineers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are using light to print three-dimensional structures that "remember" their original shapes.
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Image: Young asian women is coughing in the street; Copyright: Cho Pan

Rapid bacterial infection test reduces antibiotic use


Researchers from the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam have shown that using a rapid (5-minute) test can reduce antibiotic misuse for respiratory infections. Cutting the number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions is a key way to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.
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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"


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


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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Knee at your fingertips


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


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


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


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


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


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?


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


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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Rapid Tests: valuable helpers for use in the field


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


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


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


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


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


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, 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


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


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


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"


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


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


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


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


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


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"


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"


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"


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 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"


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


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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