Articles -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: young woman with VR-glasses in the VR-Lab, in front of it a young man at a computer, on which a virtual heart can be seen; Copyright: Kompetenzzentrum eLearning in der Medizin Baden-Württemberg

VR Lab for medical students: linking theory and practice


Virtual reality and medicine are increasingly mentioned in the same context. In addition to the development of applications that support the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain and anxiety, this technology also benefits medical staff. Two months ago, the Ulm University Hospital has opened the VR Lab, where medical students can train and learn with the help of 3D organs.
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Image: Optical readouts of HL-1 cardiomyocytes in response to chemical uncoupling by CCCP in blue and yellow; Copyright: Irene Georgakoudi, Tufts University

Researchers develop optical tools to detect metabolic changes linked to disease


Metabolic changes in cells can occur at the earliest stages of disease. In most cases, knowledge of those signals is limited, since we usually detect disease only after it has done significant damage.
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Image: elderly man whose eye is examined via microscope; Copyright: Ola Nilsson

Nerve damage in type 2 diabetes can be detected in the eye


By examining the cornea of ​​the eye with a special microscope it may be possible within ten minutes to diagnose if a person with type 2 diabetes has nerve damage. This according to a study among diabetics in Skellefteå, north Sweden.
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Image: red blood cells; Copyright:

The amazing flexibility of red blood cells


Super-resolution microscopy reveals fine detail of cellular mesh underlying cell membrane.
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Image: illustration of human cells; Copyright: Klausen

How cells are able to turn


Researchers have long wondered how our cells navigate inside the body. Two new studies, in which Lund University researcher Pontus Nordenfelt has participated, have now demonstrated that the cells use molecular force from within to steer themselves in a certain direction. This knowledge may be of great significance in the development of new drugs.
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Image: hnRNPA2 protein forms liquid droplets in a test tube as seen by light microscopy; Copyright: Veronica Ryan/Brown University

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein


For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases of muscle and bone. Their findings appear in the journal "Molecular Cell".
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Image: Doctor with a laptop, around him various medical images, behind him an ECG; Copyright:

Surgical navigation systems: Safely guiding the scalpel


Imaging, navigation, integration – these are terms that describe the modern operating room. All of these components play a key role in accurate surgical procedures. They are integrated into surgical navigation systems, which make complicated medical surgeries considerably safer.
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Image: Woman holding a doll in a glowing pyjamas; Copyright: Empa

Illuminated pajamas treat jaundice in mommy's arms


Sixty percent of newborns are affected by jaundice during their first days of life. In most cases, the condition is harmless. The ailment is more pronounced in premature babies, whose treatment involves irradiation with blue light in a special incubator – naked and alone.
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Image: A hand touches a smartphone camera that is measuring the heart rate with an app; Copyright: Preventicus GmbH

"Preventicus Heartbeats": An app that's a clinically validated medical device


Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world. Yet many incidences of stroke are preventable since they are frequently associated with an undetected abnormal heart rhythm. In this case, patients can benefit from using the clinically validated "Preventicus Heartbeats" app, which measures and documents the heart rhythm with a smartphone camera.
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Image: Three-dimensional image of a colored vessel structure; Copyright: René Hägerling

Pathology: detecting lymphedema with 3D microscopy


According to the WHO, 300 million people throughout the world are affected by lymphedema. This condition occurs when fluid that flows between cells is no longer transported back into the blood circulation and accumulates in the skin. Triggers can be surgeries, injuries or genetic defects for example. A new microscopy technique could now also indicate the causes.
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Image: Illustration of the Leipzig spoon, which is pushed to the back of the eye; Copyright: University of Leipzig/M. Francke

The "Leipzig Spoon" to cure pathological myopia


Many people all over the world suffer from myopia, also known as nearsightedness. A severe elongation of the eyeball is the cause behind it. If it continues to progress, it ultimately leads to complete loss of vision. Now an innovative medical device intends to stop this progression in the future.
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Image: Colored sonographic image of the human heart from Doppler ultrasonography; Copyright:

Imaging techniques: ultrasound, MRI, CT, catheters and other procedures to keep a healthy heart


Many people are affected by heart disease today because - among other reasons- our modern unhealthy lifestyle is taking a toll on our hearts. A reliable diagnosis and treatment are crucial for patients with heart disease since all other organs depend on the pumping of our vital organ. Modern imaging techniques are a key to understanding the heart.
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Image: interferometric detection of scattered light, iSCAT; Copyright: MPL

Interface between Physics and Medicine: new interdisciplinary center


Physics has always supported medical science, especially when it comes to practical implementation. Now physicists and health professionals join in collaborative research at an interdisciplinary Center in Erlangen and incorporate fundamental principles of theoretical physics in their studies of diseases.
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Image: A man is working at a laboratory bench, his screen is showing a program that recognizes his gestures; Copyright: Fraunhofer IPA/Heike Quosdorf

Laboratory automation: from note book to gesture recognition


For centuries, scientific research has succeeded by chronicling experiments with pinpoint accuracy. Yet despite all the progress in the actual laboratory, recording is often still done manually, in notebooks, logs or computer systems for instance. In the future, a gesture recognition system could perform this task for scientists.
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Image: An eye surgeon and an assistant are treating a patient with a surgical laser; Copyright: University Hospital Dresden/Felix Koopmann

Eye surgery: precision and prevention with femtosecond lasers


Precision work is absolutely essential in eye surgery since the surgical site is very minute and sensitive. This is why eye surgeons have been using lasers for years. Femtosecond lasers are especially well suited to serve this purpose because they are able to cut tissue with great precision and little energy, which prevents unwanted side effects of surgery.
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Image: A dermatology laser is used to remove a mole; Copyright: Krause

Laser surgery: usability, flexibility, treatment quality


The scalpel is considered the classic surgical instrument and as such, has remained unchanged for quite some time. However, today’s technology opens up a world of new possibilities for cutting tissue. Next to high-frequency electrosurgical scalpels that work with electric power, surgeons also use a variety of different lasers. They promise great usability and better treatment.
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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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Photo: Old woman with a smartphone

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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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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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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RESCUER: "Crowds should take an active part in ensuring their own safety during major events"


Thousands of people push through a tight tunnel: 21 people died while several hundred people were injured this way during the Love Parade 2010 disaster in Duisburg, Germany. Today we know that such disasters could be prevented, if communication between event participants and rescue workers would be better.
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Surgery: "Our camera detects the tiniest remainder of a tumor"


Differentiating tumor tissue from healthy tissue isn’t always easy for surgeons. Scattered cancer cells and early cancer are often hard to detect with the naked eye. A special camera now makes even the tiniest remainder of a tumor visible during surgery.
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