Augmented Medicine: the power of augmented reality in the operating room

by Nivanthika K. Wimalasena figures by Rebecca Clements Imagine going in for a surgery where the surgeon, instead of looking down and seeing only your swollen leg, can see the exact location of your fracture before making a single incision. Now imagine that this doesn’t require x-ray vision or the stuff of science fiction, but is possible through augmented reality (AR), used to overlay an image … Continue reading Augmented Medicine: the power of augmented reality in the operating room

A Sweet Solution for Preserving Vaccines

Researchers at McMaster University have developed a novel method for stabilizing vaccines, removing the strict requirement that the components be maintained within a specific low temperature range from development through delivery. The technique is based on drying the vaccines using two FDA-approved sugars and was shown to be successful in preserving vaccine effectiveness at elevated temperatures for twelve weeks. While it must still be validated on other vaccines, this method could be a major step toward cheap, accessible immunization in developing areas. Continue reading A Sweet Solution for Preserving Vaccines

Pain works differently between the sexes

For a long time, scientists did not often carefully consider sex as a variable in their research, and often worked with only male or only female animals depending on the ease of housing and handling these animals. In 2016, the NIH began requiring grant applications to justify the choice of sex of experimental animals, as part of a growing movement to consider sex as a … Continue reading Pain works differently between the sexes

Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

Nerve agents are toxic chemicals that disrupt signals in the nervous system. They can be absorbed easily through skin contact or by breathing. Exposure to nerve agents interferes with nerve cell signaling and prevents muscles from relaxing, quickly leading to muscle paralysis and eventually death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. Treatment is possible but must be administered within minutes of exposure. No long-term vaccine or … Continue reading Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

HIV-Infected T Cell

PrEP: Preventing HIV Infection Before It Starts

We have come a long way in treating HIV over the past two decades. By following a strict drug regimen, an HIV positive patient can stave off the onset of AIDS for many years. These drugs are expensive, however, and they come with side-effects. Furthermore, noncompliance with the drug regimen can have serious and long-lasting impacts on the patient’s health. Preventing HIV infection is both … Continue reading PrEP: Preventing HIV Infection Before It Starts

The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

It’s that time of year – Nobel Prize season! This year, the Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded to three scientists: one half to Frances Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes,” and the other half to George Smith and Sir Gregory Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.” What exactly are these award-winning technologies and how have they impacted society? ‘Directed evolution of … Continue reading The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

Your Personality May Determine How You Respond to Placebo Pills

The placebo effect is a puzzling phenomenon. Placebos (sugar pills or saline solutions secretly substituted for actual drugs) are commonly used in clinical trials to set a baseline against which to measure the effects of a drug. However, people in the placebo group will often show improvements alongside the treatment group. The fact that an inactive substance, such as a sugar pill, can lead to … Continue reading Your Personality May Determine How You Respond to Placebo Pills

Nanomaterials as cancer treatment: overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment, using drugs to destroy cancer cells. However, cancer cells can develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs by developing “efflux pumps”, pumps in the cell membrane that work to actively expel the chemotherapy drugs from the tumor cells. Shana Kelley and her team in University of Toronto developed nanomaterials that can deliver drugs into cancer cells and suppress their drug resistance. … Continue reading Nanomaterials as cancer treatment: overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy

World’s first clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with stem cells

Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan started a clinical trial this month to treat Parkinson’s disease with reprogrammed stem cells. This follows the successful restoration of brain cell function in monkeys using these stem cells reported last year. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of a specific type of neuron in the brain, called dopaminergic neurons, which make the essential neurotransmitter dopamine. The reduced … Continue reading World’s first clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with stem cells