Health

microMend / KitoTech Medical

Sutures and staples are the usual options for closing wounds postoperatively, but they can be painful and require surgical skills. The microMend Skin Closure Device, produced by Seattle-based KitoTech Medical, provides a potentially better alternative.

The design of the microMend is conceptually similar to a bandage, like Steri-Strip. The device is made of a thin adhesive backing with two arrays of tiny microstaples on either side. It is placed across a wound, one side at a time, so that the microstaples can insert into the skin and align the two edges of a wound. The device is flexible enough to allow conformity to a patient’s movements, and it has a holding strength similar to that of sutures. The microstaples are supposedly painless, and the device can last for as long as it takes for the wound to heal — via Medgadget

Health

The Man and The Dog / FATH

The FATH (Fundación Argentina de Trasplante Hepático) and DDB Argentina present The man and the dog, a story of friendship that seeks to inspire people to become organ donors.

The film The man and the dog, by DDB Argentina, is an awareness film created by DDB Buenos Aires for the FATH (Fundacion Argentina de Transplante Hepatico), a non-governmental non-profit organization that thanks to the commitment of people and companies has been carrying out its charitable work since 18 years ago — via Youtube

Health

Pornhub launches online sex education centre because no-one else is doing it

The world’s largest porn site has launched a centre dedicated to educating people about sexuality and sexual health — because of poor standards of sex and relationship education (SRE).

In the US sex and relationship education is often heavily regulated by state lawmakers, meaning that school kids are commonly taught under abstinence-only programmes that do not provide quality advice on protection, avoiding STIs or sexual health in general.

In addition, a handful of states continue to maintain laws that ban teachers from mentioning homosexuality.

In the absence of any real education, young people are increasingly turning to pornography to learn about sex — which campaigners warn can lead to body issues, unrealistic expectations and even dangerous or risky practises.

But rather than being part of the problem, the world’s largest porn site Pornhub is trying to be part of the solution, launching an online resource centre dedicated to sexual health.

The website has hired clinical psychologist Dr Laurie Betito to run the new Pornhub Sexual Wellness Centre, which will provide readers with information and advice regarding sexuality, sexual health and relationships.

It explains: The free site will feature original editorial content on an assortment of topics from an array of esteemed doctors, therapists, community leaders and experts.

Unlike many sex ed resources online, all the contributors to the site are qualified medical experts.

The site already has content on a number of topics including consent, transgender terminology and HIV/AIDS — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, World

Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening

Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.

The way the country has achieved this turnaround has been both radical and evidence-based, but it has relied a lot on what might be termed enforced common sense. This is the most remarkably intense and profound study of stress in the lives of teenagers that I have ever seen, says Milkman. I’m just so impressed by how well it is working.

If it was adopted in other countries, Milkman argues, the Icelandic model could benefit the general psychological and physical well-being of millions of kids, not to mention the coffers of healthcare agencies and broader society. It’s a big if — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health

‘You want a description of hell?’ OxyContin’s 12-hour problem

The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours, more than twice as long as generic medications.

Patients would no longer have to wake up in the middle of the night to take their pills, Purdue told doctors. One OxyContin tablet in the morning and one before bed would provide smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.

On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.

But OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.

The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in US history — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health

FDA Approves Device That Can Plug Gunshot Wounds in 15 Seconds 

The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the use of the XSTAT 30 — an innovative sponge-filled gunshot wound dressing device — for use in the general population. Approved last year for battlefield use, the device can plug a gunshot wound in just 15 seconds.

The XSTAT Rapid Hemostasis System is an expandable, multi-sponge dressing that’s used to control severe, life-threatening bleeding from wounds in bodily areas where a traditional tourniquet is of no use, such as the groin or armpit. It works by pumping expandable, tablet-sized sponges into the wound, staunching bleeding while a patient is rushed to hospital.

The tablets are standard medical sponges that expand on contact with blood, and the dressing lasts for about four hours. Each applicator absorbs about a pint of blood, and up to three applicators can be used on a patient. To assist with extraction, each tablet contains a radioplaque marker that can be spotted under an X-ray — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science, Technology

World-first operation implants 3D-printed titanium ribcage and sternum

A Spanish cancer patient is the first person in the world to receive a titanium 3D-printed sternum and rib cage, designed and manufactured by an Australian company.

The 54-year-old needed his sternum and a portion of his rib cage replaced.

The CSIRO said chest prosthetics were notoriously tricky to create due to the complex customised geometry and design for each patient.

Thoracic surgeons typically use flat and plate implants in the chest, but they can come loose over time and create complications, the CSIRO said.

A 3D-printed implant was a safer option for the patient because it can identically mimic the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs.

Almost a fortnight since the surgery, the CSIRO confirmed the patient was discharged and had recovered well — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

The Horrible Things That Happen If You Don’t Get Enough Sodium

In the 1930s, it was generally accepted that the body needed sodium to function, but no one had studied what broke down when the sodium in a person’s diet was removed. One researcher researcher and four volunteers decided to find out. It was awful.

The body’s need for salt wasn’t hard to establish. Anyone with a tongue noticed that the sweat and tears which came out of the body tasted the same as the little crystals leftover when sea water evaporated. Later research confirmed that it’s the sodium that makes sodium chloride so necessary to us, but, well into the twentieth century, no one quite knew what would happen when sodium levels dropped. Doctor Robert McCance wasn’t about to let that kind of ignorance persist. He recruited four volunteers and desalinated them — via io9

Health, Science

Peanut allergies: Australian study into probiotics offers hope for possible cure

Australian scientists say a particular strain of probiotics could offer a possible cure for people with potentially fatal peanut allergies.

Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne gave 60 children who are allergic to peanuts either a probiotic along with a small dose of peanut protein or a placebo.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Mimi Tang said more than 80 per cent of children who received the protein and probiotic were able to tolerate peanuts without any allergic symptoms at the end of the trial.

This is 20 times higher than the natural rate of resolution for peanut allergy, she said.

Twenty-three of the 28 children who received the probiotic with the peanut protein were able to eat peanuts after the study.

The effect lasted for two to five weeks after treatment.

The strain of probiotic used in the study was Lactobacillus rhamnosus — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Technology

The man who can hear Wi-Fi wherever he walks

Frank Swain has been going deaf since his 20s. Now he has hacked his hearing so he can listen in to the data that surrounds us.

I am walking through my north London neighbourhood on an unseasonably warm day in late autumn. I can hear birds tweeting in the trees, traffic prowling the back roads, children playing in gardens and Wi-Fi leaching from their homes. Against the familiar sounds of suburban life, it is somehow incongruous and appropriate at the same time.

As I approach Turnpike Lane tube station and descend to the underground platform, I catch the now familiar gurgle of the public Wi-Fi hub, as well as the staff network beside it. On board the train, these sounds fade into silence as we burrow into the tunnels leading to central London.

I have been able to hear these fields since last week. This wasn’t the result of a sudden mutation or years of transcendental meditation, but an upgrade to my hearing aids. With a grant from Nesta, the UK innovation charity, sound artist Daniel Jones and I built Phantom Terrains, an experimental tool for making Wi-Fi fields audible.

Our modern world is suffused with data. Since radio towers began climbing over towns and cities in the early 20th century, the air has grown thick with wireless communication, the platform on which radio, television, cellphones, satellite broadcasts, Wi-Fi, GPS, remote controls and hundreds of other technologies rely. And yet, despite wireless communication becoming a ubiquitous presence in modern life, the underlying infrastructure has remained largely invisible

— via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Artificial Spleen Removes Ebola, HIV Viruses and Toxins From Blood Using Magnets

New Bioinspired Approach to Sepsis Therapy from Wyss Institute on Vimeo

Harvard scientists have invented a new artificial spleen that is able to clear toxins, fungi and deadly pathogens such as Ebola from human blood, which could potentially save millions of lives.

Blood can be infected by many different types of organ infections as well as contaminated medical instruments such as IV lines and catheters.

When antibiotics are used to kill them, dying viruses release toxins in the blood that begin to multiply quickly, causing sepsis, a life-threatening condition whereby the immune system overreacts, causing blood clotting, organ damage and inflammation.

It can take days to identify which pathogen is responsible for infecting the blood but most of the time, the cause is not identified, while the onset of sepsis can be hours to days. Broad-spectrum antibiotics with sometimes devastating side effects are used and currently over eight million people die from the condition worldwide annually.

Even with the best current treatments, sepsis patients are dying in intensive care units at least 30% of the time, said Dr Mike Super, senior staff scientist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which led the research. We need a new approach.

To overcome this, researchers have invented a biospleen, a device similar to a dialysis machine that makes use of magnetic nanobeads measuring 128 nanometres in diameter (one-five hundredths the width of a single human hair) coated with mannose-binding lectin (MBL), a type of genetically engineered human blood protein.

The study, An Extracorporeal Blood-Cleansing Device For Sepsis Therapy, has been published in the journal Nature Medicine — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Design, Health

Grain Tower Battery / Number 1, The Thames

A maritime fort constructed in the 1860s in the middle of the Thames Estuary is on the market for half a million pounds, or roughly $835,000.

With its fifteen-foot thick walls and insanely daunting approach—accessible on foot only at low tide and, even then, after a squelching walk across seemingly endless mudflats — it’s certainly a good option if you’re looking for solitude — via BLDGBLOG

Health, Science

No more fillings as dentists reveal new tooth decay treatment

Scientists have developed a new pain-free filling that allows cavities to be repaired without drilling or injections.

The tooth-rebuilding technique developed at King’s College London does away with fillings and instead encourages teeth to repair themselves.

Tooth decay is normally removed by drilling, after which the cavity is filled with a material such as amalgam or composite resin.

The new treatment, called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), accelerates the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth.

A two-step process first prepares the damaged area of enamel, then uses a tiny electric current to push minerals into the repair site. It could be available within three years — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Homoeopathy: National Health and Medical Research Council says Australians ‘wasting money’ with the alternative therapy

Australians have been told they are wasting their money on homoeopathy, with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) reporting there is no reliable evidence homeopathic remedies are effective in treating health conditions.

The finding, which has been documented in a draft information paper, has been welcomed by some in the medical research community, who argue patients should not pay money for unproven folk remedies.

Doctor Nick Zeps, who was part of the working group that developed the paper, says the evidence that was gathered in the review would suggest that there is no reliable evidence in many instances that homoeopathy has an effect that is different from a placebo.

If it’s no better than a placebo, then objectively you could say that they [patients] were wasting their money, he said.

The finding has been supported by Emeritus Professor of medicine at the University of New South Wales, John Dwyer.

I think there’s no question … that people are relatively easily hoodwinked into thinking that these preparations might be effective, he said — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Snake oil? Scientific evidence for health supplements / David McCandless

This image is a balloon race. The higher a bubble, the greater the evidence for its effectiveness. But the supplements are only effective for the conditions listed inside the bubble. You might also see multiple bubbles for certain supplements. These is because some supplements affect a range of conditions, but the evidence quality varies from condition to condition. For example, there’s strong evidence that Green Tea is good for cholesterol levels. But evidence for its anti-cancer effects is conflicting. In these cases, we give a supplement another bubble — via Information Is Beautiful

Health, Rights

Australian Vaccination Network loses appeal against name change order

The Australian Vaccination Network has again been ordered to change its name, after losing an appeal against a ruling that its current name is misleading.

The New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal has upheld a ruling by the state’s Fair Trading department that the anti-vaccination group’s current name could mislead the public.

The AVN can elect to make a further appeal against the ruling, but Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts has warned the organisation risks a hefty legal bill because the department will seek legal costs.

The AVN must change its name now, Mr Roberts said.

We’re awaiting advice from the AVN as to what they consider an appropriate name would be.

We reserve the right to reject any names we consider inappropriate, but again my clear message to the Australian Vaccination Network is be open and up-front about what you stand for.

The Australian Medical Association was among those that complained to Fair Trading about the AVN’s name — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Setting the record straight: Debunking all the flu vaccine myths

I could be wrong, but I’d venture to guess there is more nonsense and misinformation about the flu vaccine than any other vaccine out there. Perhaps it’s because it’s a once-a-year vaccine, so that cyclical nature brings out new myths each year. Or maybe it’s because it’s for an illness that many people have had, even more than once, and survived, so they mistakenly assume a vaccine is unnecessary. Whatever the reasons, I’ve decided a comprehensive post addressing every myth I’ve been able to find is long overdue. I plan to update this post as necessary, and I’ll likely republish it each year as a reference — via Red Wine & Apple Sauce

Health, Science

Medical journals refuse to publish tobacco-funded research

Editors of journals published by the BMJ Group will no longer consider publishing research that is partly or wholly funded by the tobacco industry, the journals have said in an editorial published this week.

Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than five million deaths every year, and current trends show that it will cause more than eight million deaths annually by the year 2030.

Editor-in-chief of BMJ Open Trish Groves said editors of the BMJ, BMJ Open, Heart, and Thorax could no longer ignore the growing body of evidence — from the tobacco industry’s released internal documents — that the industry continues to actively play down the risks of its products.

What’s worse is that scientific journals have published potentially biased studies that were funded by industry, often without realising that research funding bodies that sounded independent and academic were largely paid for by industry.

Other journals that have previously introduced such bans include PLOS Medicine in 2010 and the journals published by The American Thoracic Society in 1995 — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Alzheimer’s treatment breakthrough: British scientists pave way for simple pill to cure disease

Scientists have hailed an historic turning point in the search for a medicine that could beat Alzheimer’s disease, after a drug-like compound was used to halt brain cell death in mice for the first time.

Although the prospect of a pill for Alzheimer’s remains a long way off, the landmark British study provides a major new pathway for future drug treatments.

The compound works by blocking a faulty signal in brains affected by neurodegenerative diseases, which shuts down the production of essential proteins, leading to brain cells being unprotected and dying off.

It was tested in mice with prion disease — the best animal model of human neurodegenerative disorders – but scientists said they were confident the same principles would apply in a human brain with debilitating brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

The study, published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was carried out at the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Ballet dancers’ brains adapt to spins

Ballet dancers develop differences in their brain structures to allow them to perform pirouettes without feeling dizzy, a study has found.

A team from Imperial College London said dancers appear to suppress signals from the inner ear to the brain.

Dancers traditionally use a technique called spotting, which minimises head movement.

The researchers say their findings may help patients who experience chronic dizziness — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Surgery, radiation and chemo didn’t stop the tumour, but an experimental treatment did

The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Centre at Duke University has the largest experience on the East Coast with my sort of tumour, so I went there for further consultation and treatment.

As doctors there examined me, it was obvious that my tumour had already grown again; in fact, it had quadrupled in size since my initial chemo and radiation. I was offered several treatments and experimental protocols, one of which involved implanting a modified polio virus into my brain. (This had been very successful in treating GBMs in mice.) Duke researchers had been working on this for 10 years and had just received permission from the FDA to treat 10 patients, but for only one a month. (A Duke press release last May explained that the treatment was designed to capitalize on the discovery that cancer cells have an abundance of receptors that work like magnets in drawing the polio virus, which then infects and kills the cells. The investigational therapy… uses an engineered form of the virus that is lethal to cancer cells, while harmless to normal cells. The therapy is infused directly into a patient’s tumour. The virus-based therapy also triggers the body’s immune system to attack the infected tumour cells) — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase beer gut.

A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyser test. And sure enough, the man’s blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.

There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol that day.

He would get drunk out of the blue — on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just anytime, says , the dean of nursing at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. His wife was so dismayed about it that she even bought a Breathalyser.

Other medical professionals chalked up the man’s problem to closet drinking. But Cordell and Dr Justin McCarthy, a gastroenterologist in Lubbock, wanted to figure out what was really going on.

So the team searched the man’s belongings for liquor and then isolated him in a hospital room for 24 hours. Throughout the day, he ate carbohydrate-rich foods, and the doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol. At one point, it rose 0.12 percent.

Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer’s yeast in his gut.

That’s right, folks. According to Cordell and McCarthy, the man’s intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science, Technology

Bionic eye testing moves into the field

A backpack computer has been developed to let people test a bionic eye so the implant can be perfected for those needing it.

The bionic eye project aims to give some vision to people who have lost their sight by transmitting images from a pair of glasses which have been fitted with a video camera.

Those images go to the implant, which stimulates the optic nerve.

The prototype computer will simulate the experience for testers and help researchers develop the algorithms required for mobility and orientation.

The head of the wearable computer laboratory at the University of South Australia, Bruce Thomas, says the testing project involves equipment readily available which has been modified and made easy to use for practical medical research — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health

Dogs help stressed US military veterans cope with civilian life

When retired US Army Staff Sergeant Justin Madore has nightmares, his dog Cody is there to wake him up.

Cody gets up in my bed and starts pounding on me — it’ll knock my wife right out of bed, said Madore, 37, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The dogs become a part of us — they know when there’s something off.

Cody, a 3-year-old Labradoodle, a Labrador retriever and poodle mix, has had special training. He and Madore met up at K9s for Warriors in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where the non-profit center has trained dogs for two years to help veterans who suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, said executive director Shari Duval.

A US Veterans Affairs report reveals that of about 830,000 veterans treated at VA medical centres over the last decade, 29 percent had a diagnosis of PTSD, and 22 percent were suffering from depression.

K9s for Warriors offers veterans a three-week in-house program to meet and learn how to work with their dogs.

The dogs are not as highly trained as seeing-eye dogs for the blind, said Duval, but they do have special skills — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Health, Science

Early trials begin for experimental implant that trains immune system to kill melanoma cells

An experimental vaccine implant to treat skin cancer has begun early trials in humans, as part of a growing effort to train the immune system to fight tumours.

The approach, which was shown to work in lab mice in 2009, involves placing a fingernail-sized sponge under the skin, where it reprograms a patient’s immune cells to find cancerous melanoma cells and kill them.

It is rare to get a new technology tested in the laboratory and moved into human clinical trials so quickly, said Glenn Dranoff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and part of the research team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University — via redwolf.newsvine.com

HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors to rely on God

Some young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead, doctors warn.

Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication.

Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.

But one pastor denied people would ever be told to stop taking their medicine.

The Children’s HIV Association surveyed 19 doctors and health professionals working with babies and children in England; its members had reported hearing anecdotal evidence of HIV patients deciding to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs because their pastors had told them to do so.

Among 10 doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so — via redwolf.newsvine.com

When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart

Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You’ve probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they’re a little less friendly to the people beneath them.

So here’s a question that may seem too simple: Why?

If you ask a psychologist, he or she may tell you that the powerful are simply too busy. They don’t have the time to fully attend to their less powerful counterparts.

But if you ask Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, he might give you another explanation: Power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.

Obhi and his colleagues, Jeremy Hogeveen and Michael Inzlicht, have a showing evidence to support that claim — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Queensland Health raises alarm over homeopath’s immunisation claim

Queensland’s chief health officer, Jeannette Young, is investigating a homoeopath who allegedly convinced a mother his treatment would immunise her child.

Dr Young told ABC’s 7.30 Queensland the mother was convinced her child was vaccinated until she was asked about it by a doctor at the Mater Hospital.

The mother said ‘yes, my child is fully vaccinated, I believe in vaccination, but the person who vaccinated my child said that if you were to test my child you wouldn’t find any evidence because it’s a different sort of vaccination’, Dr Young said.

The doctor explored that with the child’s mother and worked out that a homoeopath had told the mother that he had vaccinated the child when clearly the child had not been vaccinated.

The mother thought she had done the right thing and wanted to do the right thing by her child and believed this healthcare provider, who misled her.

Some homoeopaths offer a treatment called homoeopathic prophylaxis which aims to strengthen a person’s immune system, but public health authorities say there is no evidence it works — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Canine cancer vaccine could be trialled on humans: researchers

Researchers say a new cancer vaccine that appears to be helping dogs could soon be used in human trials.

The vaccine, developed by researchers at Sydney’s Kolling Institute, has been trialled on almost 30 dogs with advanced melanoma, bone cancer and liver cancer.

Early results found the vaccine not only slowed the growth of the original tumour but also helped to prevent more developing.

Dr Chris Weir, who developed the vaccine, said the anecdotal results are promising — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Embryonic stem cells could help restore sight to blind

Scientists have shown that light-sensitive retinal cells, grown in the lab from stem cells, can successfully integrate into the eye when implanted into blind mice. The technique opens up the possibility that a similar treatment could help people who have become blind through damage to their retinas to regain some of their sight.

Loss of light-sensitive nerve cells, known as photoreceptors, is a major cause of blindness in conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetes-related blindness. These conditions affect many thousands of people in the UK alone and there is no effective treatment at present. Scientists have been exploring the possibility of somehow replacing the photoreceptors, which come in two types: rods that help us see in low light conditions, and cones, which help us differentiate colours.

Robin Ali at University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital has previously shown that transplanting immature rod cells from the retinas of very young mice can restore vision in blind adult mice. It was a neat proof of concept, but the technique as it stood would be impractical as a way to treat people.

His latest work got around the problems of sourcing donor photoreceptor cells by growing and differentiating them from embryonic stem cells in a culture dish, rather than taking the cells from young mice. The donor photoreceptors developed normally once inside the adult mouse eyes and, crucially, formed nerve connections with the brain. The results are published on Sunday in the journal Nature Biotechnology — via redwolf.newsvine.com

The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

On 10 October 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that women who took supplemental multivitamins died at rates higher than those who didn’t. Two days later, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that men who took vitamin E had an increased risk of prostate cancer. It’s been a tough week for vitamins, said Carrie Gann of ABC News.

These findings weren’t new. Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives. Still, in 2012, more than half of all Americans took some form of vitamin supplements. What few people realize, however, is that their fascination with vitamins can be traced back to one man. A man who was so spectacularly right that he won two Nobel Prizes and so spectacularly wrong that he was arguably the world’s greatest quack — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Ireland passes landmark abortion bill, ending total ban

Ireland.s parliament has passed a landmark law that will allow limited abortion in the Catholic country for the first time.

Lawmakers in the Dáil, Ireland’s parliament, voted in the early morning hours Friday to legalise abortions in cases when one could save a woman’s life.

After long and contentious debate that saw bishops threatening to ex-communicate lawmakers who voted in favour of the law, Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s coalition government pushed the bill through by a vote of 127 to 31, according to RTE News — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Female inmates sterilised in California prisons without approval

Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilised nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, the Centre for Investigative Reporting has found.

At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years — and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.

From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.

The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men’s prison.

Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future.

Crystal Nguyen, a former Valley State Prison inmate who worked in the prison’s infirmary during 2007, said she often overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilised.

I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s not right,’ said Nguyen, 28. Do they think they’re animals, and they don’t want them to breed anymore? — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Mindscapes: First man to hear people before they speak

PH is the first confirmed case of someone who hears people speak before registering the movement of their lips. His situation is giving unique insights into how our brains unify what we hear and see.

It’s unclear why PH’s problem started when it did — but it may have had something to do with having acute pericarditis, inflammation of the sac around the heart, or the surgery he had to treat it.

Brain scans after the timing problems appeared showed two lesions in areas thought to play a role in hearing, timing and movement. Where these came from is anyone’s guess, says PH. They may have been there all my life or as a result of being in intensive care — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Cousins who marry doubles risk for babies

First cousins who marry run twice the risk of having a child with genetic abnormalities, according to the findings of a study based on the English city of Bradford.

The city, which has a high proportion of South Asian immigrants and their descendants among its population, served as a microcosm for examining the risk of blood relative couplings.

About 37 per cent of marriages among people of Pakistani origin in the study involved first cousins, compared with less than one per cent of British unions, said the researchers.

University of Leeds investigator Eamonn Sheridan led a team that pored over data from the Born in Bradford study, which tracks the health of 13,500 babies born at the city’s main hospital between 2007 and 2011.

Out of 11,396 babies for whom family details were known, 18 per cent were the offspring of first-cousin unions, mainly among people of Pakistani heritage.

A total of 386 babies — three per cent — were born with anomalies ranging from problems in the nervous, respiratory and digestive systems, to urinary and genital defects and cleft palates.

This Bradford rate was nearly twice the national average, said the study published in medical journal The Lancet — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Parents who withheld care are guilty of homicide, Wisconsin justices say

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the homicide conviction of two parents whose 11-year-old daughter died while they relied on prayer and faith in God to treat her illness rather than conventional medicine.

The state high court ruled 6 to 1 that the parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, were properly tried and convicted of second-degree reckless homicide for failing to provide emergency medical treatment to their daughter, Kara.

A parent has a legal duty to provide medical care for a child if necessary, the Wisconsin high court declared — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Malaria vaccine set for human trials

The search for a malaria vaccine could soon be over, after an Australian-led trial has proven successful on mice.

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, saw mice develop immunity to  multiple strains of the disease.

We found that if you take blood stage parasite in red blood cells and treat it with a chemical that binds the DNA and then administer that as a vaccine to mice, and you can get protection against the strain, they’ll be immunised, says Griffith University’s Jennifer Reiman, one of the authors of the study.

The vaccine is now ready for human trials, and researchers are hoping adult males in South-East Queensland might be willing volunteers.

If that turns out to be safe then we can go on and do clinical trials in areas where there’s malaria, Ms Reiman says — via redwolf.newsvine.com

World’s first telescopic contact lens gives you Superman-like vision

An international team of researchers have created the first telescopic contact lens; a contact lens that, when it’s equipped, gives you the power to zoom your vision almost three times. Yes, this is the first ever example of a bionic eye that effectively gives you Superman-like eagle-eye vision.

…the telescopic contact lens has two very distinct regions. The centre of the lens allows light to pass straight through, providing normal vision. The outside edge, however, acts as a telescope capable of magnifying your sight by 2.8x. This is about the same as looking through a 100mm lens on a DSLR. For comparison, a pair of bird-watching binoculars might have a magnification of 15x. The examples shown in the image below give you a good idea of what a 2.8x optical zoom would look like in real life.

The telescopic contact lens, in action

The main breakthrough is that this telescopic contact lens is just 1.17mm thick, allowing it to be comfortably worn. Other attempts at granting telescopic vision have included: a 4.4mm-thick contact lens (too thick for real-world use), telescopic spectacles (cumbersome and ugly), and most recently a telescopic lens implanted into the eye itself. The latter is currently the best option currently available, but it requires surgery and the image quality isn’t excellent — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Cortex 3D-printed cast for fractured bones by Jake Evill

Cortex 3D-printed cast for fractured bones by Jake Evill

Cortex 3D-printed cast for fractured bones by Jake Evill

3D-printed casts for fractured bones could replace the usual bulky, itchy and smelly plaster or fibreglass ones in this conceptual project by Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill.

The prototype Cortex cast is lightweight, ventilated, washable and thin enough to fit under a shirt sleeve.

A patient would have the bones x-rayed and the outside of the limb 3D-scanned. Computer software would then determine the optimum bespoke shape, with denser support focussed around the fracture itself.

The polyamide pieces would be printed on-site and clip into place with fastenings that can’t be undone until the healing process is complete, when they would be taken off with tools at the hospital as normal. Unlike current casts, the materials could then be recycled.

At the moment, 3D printing of the cast takes around three hours whereas a plaster cast is three to nine minutes, but requires 24-72 hours to be fully set, says the designer. With the improvement of 3D printing, we could see a big reduction in the time it takes to print in the future — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Type 1 diabetes vaccine hailed as significant step

It may be possible to reverse type 1 diabetes by training a patient’s own immune system to stop attacking their body, an early trial suggests.

Their immune system destroys the cells that make insulin, the hormone needed to control blood sugar levels.

A study in 80 patients, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed a vaccine could retrain their immune system.

Experts described the results as a significant step.

Normally a vaccine teaches the immune system to attack bacteria or viruses that cause disease, such as the polio virus.

Researchers at the Stanford University Medical Centre used a vaccine with the opposite effect – to make the immune system cease its assault.

In patients with type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys beta cells in the pancreas. This means the body is unable to produce enough insulin and regular injections of the hormone are needed throughout life.

It is a different disease to type 2 diabetes, which can be caused by an unhealthy diet.

The vaccine was targeted to the specific white blood cells which attack beta cells. After patients were given weekly injections for three months, the levels of those white blood cells fell — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Wendy Davis filibuster and public protest defeat Texas abortion bill

A controversial abortion bill was has defeated after a day of political drama in Texas that began with a marathon filibuster speech and ended with a raucous public protest that derailed a vote in the state legislature.

A live video stream and a social media swirl drew attention from around the world to the remarkable scenes in Austin, Texas, where Democrats led by Senator Wendy Davis staged a procedural filibuster to block a bill that would have severely restricted abortion in the

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, David Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor, finally conceded defeat, saying he had missed the midnight deadline to sign the bill.

The attempts to stall the bill began on Monday morning when Davis launched into a speech that would last for 10 hours and 45 minutes. When procedural motions brought by Republican opponents forced her to stop, other Democratic colleagues took up the baton, using arcane procedural wrangles to run down the clock.

As the day wore on, a live video stream grew in popularity and supporters flocked to the chamber, filling the public galleries and spilling out into the hallways outside. Amid cheers and catcalls, a vote was eventually taken on the stroke of the midnight deadline.

Dewhurst told reporters the 19-10 vote was in time, but with all the ruckus and noise going on, I couldn’t sign the bill. He blamed the delay on an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics, according to the Austin American-Statesman, and denied mishandling the debate — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Nerve cells re-grown in rats after spinal injury

US scientists say they have made progress in repairing spinal cord injuries in paralysed rats.

Rats regained some bladder control after surgery to transplant nerve cells into the spinal cord, combined with injections of a cocktail of chemicals.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, could raise hopes for one day treating paralysed patients.

But UK experts say it will take several years of research before human clinical trials can be considered — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Breakthrough could prevent superbug infections forming on medical implants

Scientists say new research into the behaviour of superbug bacteria could help prevent life-threatening infections forming on medically implanted devices.

Drug-resistant bacteria such as golden staph can cause infections on devices like catheters, pacemakers and joint replacements that are notoriously difficult to treat.

A team of researchers from Sydney’s University of Technology say they have discovered how the bacteria behaves and why it spreads so quickly.

The research has just been published in the prestigious US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Bionic eye prototype unveiled by Victorian scientists and designers

A team of Australian industrial designers and scientists have unveiled their prototype for the world’s first bionic eye.

It is hoped the device, which involves a microchip implanted in the skull and a digital camera attached to a pair of glasses, will allow recipients to see the outlines of their surroundings.

If successful, the bionic eye has the potential to help over 85 per cent of those people classified as legally blind.

With trials beginning next year, Monash University’s Professor Mark Armstrong says the bionic eye should give recipients a degree of extra mobility — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Immune training MS trial safe

An experimental treatment to stop the body attacking its own nervous system in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) appears safe in trials.

The sheath around nerves cells, made of myelin, is destroyed in MS, leaving the nerves struggling to pass on messages.

A study on nine patients, reported in Science Translational Medicine, tried to train the immune system to cease its assault on myelin.

The MS Society said the idea had exciting potential.

As nerves lose their ability to talk to each other, the disease results in problems moving and balancing and can affect vision.

There are drugs that can reduce number and severity of attacks, but there is no cure — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Stroke patients see signs of recovery in stem-cell trial

Five seriously disabled stroke patients have shown small signs of recovery following the injection of stem cells into their brain.

Prof Keith Muir, of Glasgow University, who is treating them, says he is surprised by the mild to moderate improvements in the five patients.

He stresses it is too soon to tell whether the effect is due to the treatment they are receiving.

The results will be presented at the European Stroke Conference in London — via redwolf.newsvine.com