November 20, 2012

Medical breakthroughs: talking glove, dog hope for spinal injuries, radio pill, cancer stem cells found

Helping people with strokes or deafness Grandfather left mute after a stroke speaks again with help of revolutionary glove that turns gestures into words

73-year-old has so far learnt to articulate 20 different words and phrases
Glove has integrated sensors and computer and is programmed to express 1,000 words

This testing on animals will benefit many humans.  Time for walks! Pet dogs paralyzed by spine damage are able to walk again following pioneering treatment

One owner described her previously paralyzed pet 'whizzing around the house' following the treatment.

What's the best time of day to take your medication? Gene that predicts what time of day we'll die: Discovery could help determine when stroke or heart patients should take medication

Scientists have discovered a gene variation that affects the human body clock so profoundly that it even predicts the time of day when an individual is most likely to die.  Researchers hope the findings could eventually be used to determine when heart or stroke patients should take medication to make it most effective, or when hospital patients should be monitored most closely.

The US team discovered the gene variation by accident when they were investigating the development of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Strange but true, a lot of people don't take their medication.  New technology develops A Pill That Tells When It's Taken

It took the team seven years to create the centerpiece of the Feedback System, a pill that doubles as a radio. “The biggest question was, What types of materials would the FDA allow us to use?” Zdeblick says. “So we decided to use [ones from] a vitamin.” Small amounts of copper and magnesium conduct enough electricity (1.5 volts) to power a one-millimeter chip. When a pill containing the chip hits the stomach, the metals interact with stomach fluid to generate a current. The current transmits to a 2.5-inch patch on the patient’s torso, which relays the signal as binary code to his phone over Bluetooth. An app will determine the pill’s serial number, manufacturer, and ingredients, and saves that data to the cloud. Doctors will eventually be able to set up automatic alerts when adherence problems arise.

Who knew cancer cells had their own stem cells? Found: The cells that make cancer run riot. Kill them and you could destroy the disease...

The traditional view among oncologists is that cancerous tumors are the result of genetic mutations within ordinary cells that cause them to divide uncontrollably and then spread. 

However, evidence has been mounting that small numbers of stem cells within tumors actually orchestrate their growth and proliferation. But these types of cell are difficult to eradicate with traditional chemo and radiotherapy — they actually come equipped with pump-like mechanisms on their surface that filter medicines away — and they can re-grow even after the primary tumor has been destroyed or removed.

--- ‘We’ve found both types of cell in head and neck tumors, and others have found them in breast, colon and several other types of cancer.  'If we could find ways to target them, we might have an elegant solution to the problem of cancer and its growth.

‘The question is, how can you target cancer stem cells without damaging normal stem cells? We don’t know yet.
Posted by Jill Fallon at November 20, 2012 7:51 PM | Permalink