One of the promises of nanomedicine is the design of tiny particles that can home in on diseased cells and get inside them. Nanoparticles can carry drugs into cells and tag cells for MRI and other diagnostic tests; and they may eventually even enter a cell's nucleus to repair damaged genes. Unfortunately, designing them involves as much luck as engineering. "Everything in nanomedicine right now is hit-and-miss as far as the biological fate of nanoparticles, " said Rice University bioengineering researcher Jennifer West. "There's no systematic understanding of how to design a particle to accomplish a certain goal in terms of where it goes in a cell or if it even goes into a cell.
CyMap, an innovative lens-free microscope developed by Cancer Research UK scientists and members of the Optical Biochips Consortium*, has won first prize in the Medical and Healthcare category of The Engineer's Technology and Innovation Awards as well as the overall Grand Prix prize. The awards recognise and honour innovation in the UK resulting from the collaboration between academia and industry. The technology could be developed into a compact cell imaging system for use in research laboratories. It also has the potential for use in medical diagnostics systems to quantify and analyse medical samples in hospitals, doctors' surgeries and clinical laboratories.
Most patients with heart failure likely to benefit from a pacemaker including the capacity for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) do not receive such an implantable device, reports a national study in the December 2009 issue of the American Heart Journal. Less than half who qualify for the device therapy may actually get it, the large-scale study led by University of South Florida cardiologist Anne Curtis, MD, found. The researchers also reported widespread variations in CRT use for eligible patients by practice setting and patient characteristics despite national guidelines and evidence from clinical trials supporting the therapy. Heart failure - impairment in the heart's ability to pump blood through the body - affects more than 5 million Americans and is expected to increase as the population ages.
The "magnetically best shielded room on earth" has the size of an apartment block and is located on the site of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Institute Berlin. Magnetic fields such as that of the earth are kept out here as effective as nowhere else. Such ideal conditions allow the measurement of the tiny magnetic fields of, e.g., the human heart. This was the motivation for the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ask PTB to jointly test a newly developed optical magnetic field sensor. It is based on a physical principle very different from SQUIDs, which are usually applied for biomagnetic field measurements.
Radiologists can accurately diagnose acute appendicitis from a remote location with the use of a handheld device or mobile phone equipped with special software, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). "The goal is to improve the speed and accuracy of medical diagnoses, as well as to improve communications among different consulting physicians, " said the study's lead author, Asim F. Choudhri, M.D., fellow physician in the Division of Neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "When we can make these determinations earlier, the appropriate surgical teams and equipment can be assembled before the surgeon even has the chance to examine the patient.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a common problem in mechanically ventilated patients and contributes to the development of esophageal mucosal injury and even erosive esophagitis. The relationship between percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) and subsequent development of GER is complex and not well understood. A research article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team from Greece explored the factors that interfere with failure of PEG to reduce GER in critically ill, mechanically ventilated patients. A cohort of 29 consecutive mechanically ventilated patients undergoing PEG was prospectively evaluated.