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Image: spinal cord osmotic therapy device; Copyright: Victor Rodgers/UC Riverside

Spinal cord injuries treatment improvement

13/08/2020

When injured, the spinal cord swells, restricting blood flow, resulting in further, often critical and permanent motor, sensory, and autonomic function damage. Rapid prevention of spinal cord swelling immediately after injury is key to preventing more serious damage. The only treatment to date has been steroid therapy with methylprednisolone, which is minimally effective.
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Image: Smartwatch on a wrist; Copyright: Jialun Zhu, Shuyu Lin, and Yichao Zhao (I²BL/UCLA)

Smartwatch tracks medication levels

10/08/2020

Engineers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and their colleagues at Stanford School of Medicine have demonstrated that drug levels inside the body can be tracked in real time using a custom smartwatch that analyzes the chemicals found in sweat. This wearable technology could be incorporated into a more personalized approach to medicine.
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Image: miniature implantable neural stimulators laying on rice; Copyright: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Implant: tiny, magnetically powered neural stimulator

09/06/2020

Rice University neuroengineers have created a tiny surgical implant that can electrically stimulate the brain and nervous system without using a battery or wired power supply. The neural stimulator draws its power from magnetic energy and is about the size of a grain of rice.
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Image: A half-transparent red piece of tissue in a glass filled with a yellow fluid; Copyright: United Therapeutics

rhCollagen: genetically engineered building block for regenerative medicine

03/02/2020

Collagen is the stuff that holds our bodies together and that houses our cells. In regenerative medicine, it is also the stuff that can be applied to wounds to support healing. However, collagen from animal or human sources has some drawbacks for today’s medicine. This is where rhCollagen from the Israeli company CollPlant comes into play.
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Image: Computer-generated image of an arborizing blood vessel; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ugreen

Angiogenesis: light shows blood vessels the way

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to replace damage in the body with functional tissue and restore normal function. The first defense for large defects are implants made of hydrogels, designed to promote cell growth. They need their own blood supply, which is a problem when it comes to larger implants because you cannot regulate where and how the blood vessels grow - until now.
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Image: Two knees of a woman next to each other, the left knee has a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/wujekspeed

Regenerative medicine: creating a new body?

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to repair the human body after injuries, accidents or major cancer surgery. Unfortunately, we are still not at a stage where this process can achieve optimal results for every conceivable situation. Having said that, various new methods are on the cusp of breakthrough.
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Image: Graphic rendering of several cells in a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/dani3315

Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?

01/02/2019

Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities.
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Image: Small brown mole on the back of a hand; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Mario Hahn

Early detection: Tattoo signals cancer – and more

09/07/2018

People who are not ill and do not show any symptoms typically do not visit the doctor. And while most people know that preventive medical checkups for cancer, for example, are important, they still avoid them. They tend to be very hesitant because the doctor might detect a serious illness. In the future, a new type of implant could make it easier to go to a screening test.
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Image: Two hands are holding a tubular frame that is carrying a glistening wet, white tube; Copyright: Leibniz University of Hanover/Institute of Technical Chemistry

Tissue engineering: how to grow a bypass

23/04/2018

A bypass is a complicated structure. It is either made of synthetic materials that can cause blood clots and infections or created by using the patient’s veins. However, the latter often does not yield adequate material. A newly developed bioreactor could solve this problem in the future. It is designed to tissue engineer vascular grafts by using the body’s own material.
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