Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health

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Science Highlights • May 26, 2010
Taking advantage of the agility and inherent dexterity of the tongue, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a tongue-operated device that can help paralyzed people return to active, independent, and productive lives.
Science Highlights • April 30, 2010
To treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form in the veins of the lower legs, physicians currently have two options: systemic drug therapy or invasive clot removal. Both carry a risk of major bleeding and require a hospital stay. A new technique developed by University of Michigan researchers offers a noninvasive, localized treatment that nearly eliminates bleeding risk. The technique, called histotripsy, uses focused sound waves to break up clots and could make DVT treatment an outpatient procedure.
Science Highlights • March 31, 2010
Using robotics technology, Vanderbilt University researchers have constructed and developed a powered lower leg prosthesis that has both brains and brawn.
Science Highlights • February 26, 2010
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), clinicians can pinpoint potentially lethal plaques that accumulate in the main artery leading to the brain. However, MRI cannot predict which plaques may rupture and cause a stroke. A new computer model developed by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mass., Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., and the University of Washington, Seattle, provides such an assessment by calculating the structural stresses each plaque experiences. The model offers physicians a more precise way to evaluate each plaque and tailor treatment to individual patients.
Science Highlights • January 29, 2010
Using microfabrication technology and nanotechnology, Harvard University researchers constructed the world’s smallest diagnostic NMR system for fast and inexpensive analysis of native biological samples.
Science Highlights • December 22, 2009
Although current laboratory tests and imaging studies cannot predict whether a tumor will spread quickly, a new imaging technique – hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI—developed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and GE Healthcare may provide new insights into how tumors use energy. The technique could help clinicians more precisely tailor therapies to slow or halt a tumor’s progress.
Science Highlights • November 30, 2009
Researchers have designed a fist-like surgical tool the size of a dust particle that can open and close in response to chemicals or heat. The device, called a microgripper, does not require batteries or any electrical source and some day could be used to collect biopsy samples, remove blood clots, and deliver drugs to parts of the human body that wired tools cannot access.
Science Highlights • October 30, 2009
Once symptoms of a stroke appear, brain tissue begins to deteriorate. Restoring blood flow to the brain quickly can mean the difference between a return to health or months of disability. A research team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has developed a device that easily snakes into the brain’s twisty vessels and can unclog an artery in a matter of minutes using gentle pulses of ultrasonic energy. This is in sharp contrast to current technologies that often take up to two hours to work.
Science Highlights • September 30, 2009
Preserving fertility is a major concern for women and girls facing cancer diagnosis because chemotherapy and radiation are harmful to the ovaries. Scientists are developing 3-D scaffolds that mimic the ovary so that immature egg cells could be matured outside of the body. The technology will allow women to freeze their ovarian tissue for use at a later time, without the need for time-consuming ovarian stimulation.
Science Highlights • August 31, 2009
Different diseases affect the shape of blood vessels. Cancer, for instance, tends to change vessels from smooth tubes into jagged conduits. But conventional imaging alone cannot reveal key details about a blood vessel’s shape. By combining magnetic resonance angiography with computer analysis, researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, have developed a noninvasive method to assess tumor malignancy and to track response to drug therapy. The approach also offers insight into how the brain ages.

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