Monday, 27 June 2016

Researchers Improve Biosensors to Detect E. coli


Handheld Biosensor – Detect Bacteria Enzymes

One may be unaware when infected with E.coli till it begins to create chaos on your guts and hence a group of Washington State University scientists have been building a handheld biosensor which can sniff out even the tiny extents of pathogen in food. The latest technology is the work of the researchers at WSU in Pullman, have described how they developed and tested, in an article which had been published in the journal Small. The biosensor tends to depend on flower shaped nanoparticles which has been developed by the team and these nanoflowers have the potential to trap bacteria enzymes magnifying them so that they can be recognized by a simple pH strip. As per team leader Yuehe Lin, Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Materials WSU state that they intend to use the nanoflowers in creating a simple biosensor identical to a pregnancy test trip which can be used by anyone.They are not stopping with E.coli though; the group has been actively working on expanding their creations’ potentials. They have been changing the components of the particle to give it the power to spot other pathogens like Salmonella.

Disease Marker for Different Ailments

The researchers are also correcting it further in an attempt to create a variety which tends to detect disease markers for different ailments including cancer. Presently, dangerous pathogens in food are mostly detected only when people tend to fall sick. Early discovery if possible before the food tends to reach the consumer, could avert several cases of foodborne as well as save the cost and the effort involved in food recalls diseases. The team now working in solving this issue has developed a portable biosensor based on nanoflowers which can sense harmful bacteria. The biosensor is said to detect nanoflower chemical signals which are produced by tiny bacteria and increases them so that they can be collected with ease in a simple handheld pH meter. Even small quantity of dangerous bacteria as well as other microbes could lead to serious health problemsyet the technology available sensor is incapable to discover easily and quickly in small amounts. The main challenge in solving this issue is to discover an option of sensing weak chemical signals which tend to release harmful microbes at the molecular level.

Conventional Equipment – Translate into Vigilant Messages

If these signals pathogens can be perceived, it is then a matter of magnifying them for the more conventional equipmentcould translate into vigilant messages. Lead author, Yuehe Lin, and his colleagues, in his article have described how they developed a biosensor `nanoflower’ that is capable of sensing and amplifying signals Escherichia coli O157: H7, a pathogen that causes severe food diarrhoea as well as kidney damage in individuals. The researchers have filed for a patent for the technology and are developing versions which can discover other foodborne pathogens. As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC, each year, around 1 in 6 Americans, around 48 million tend to get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of borne diseases due to food. Around 31 known food borne pathogens are there, eight of which are accountable for the massivemainstream of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

3D Printing Dentists are Recreating Entire Jaws

3d printing

3D Printing – Reconstructing Complete Jaw

For basic dental processes, 3D printing has been utilised for years and the technology is much more advanced in reconstructing the complete jaw. A dentist with Dawood and Tanner, Andrew Dawood, informed the audience at WIRED Health that they used to utilise the lost wax technique that had been around for 5,000 years. However, 3D-printing has enabled him to do more with the patients and can be done much faster. He described that he was capable of designing and printing the framework, cutting guides as well as parts required in performing difficult dental surgery.

All that was essential was data gathered from 3D scans together with the records of the patients. For surgery, the plaster of Paris parts used are now 3D printed and Dawood also tends to use plastics, metals and rubber for printing. He states that they are not 3D printing bone yet but will do so one day. The method to make and 3D printed human bone is not established yet though Dawood together with his other surgeons have been utilising bone from other areas of the body in order to reconstruct the complete jaws in most difficult circumstances.

Josh Stephenson’s Jaw Restored

A designer and one of the patients of Dawood, Josh Stephenson had his jaw restored after he had been suffering from a malignant melanoma. He had been diagnosed with an unusual kind of cancer which had spread all over his face. After going through unsuccessful radiotherapy treatment, Stephenson had to undergo surgery for the removal of his left eye, upper left jaw and the roof of his mouth.

It took a huge team of surgeons as well as many months of treatments for the removal of all of the cancer and then to reconstruct his jaw. With the use of a 3D-scanned and printed copy of his skull, it became possible in recreating the missing areas of his jaw.

Dawood had been able in assessing the dentistry work essential from the model of the 3D print and then decide how the surgery in repairing it can be done. By taking the bone from Stephenson’s scapular, the dentist together with the other surgeons had restored his jaw. Dawood comments that by using this kind of technology, they can be more accurate and return the patient to society quicker.

3D Scanning & Printing Method in Creating New Products

Stephenson a graphic designer had been inspired in creating his own line of modified umbrella handle utilising the technology which had helped him with his jaw and has since then used the same 3D scanning and printing method in creating new products. Under normal situations, restoring the jaw of the patient is complex, especially when there seems to be some broken bone and few lost teeth to replace.

Stephenson was essentially missing several of his jaw by the time the cancerous tissues had been removed which made the complicated process all the most complex. However, due to his dental surgeon who had been utilising 3D printing in his practice since 1999, he knew precisely how to organize it to help Stephenson. Andrew Dawood would eventually end up utilising several 3D printing technologies at various stages all through the reconstruction process.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Cardiac 'Bruising' may Predict Worse Heart Attack

Heart Attack

Bruising/Bleeding in Heart Muscle – Predicts Heart Attack

According to UK researchers, new way has been found to show if a heart attack tends to be severe and would be causing lasting harm, by just looking for bruising or bleed in the heart muscle. As per the Glasgow team, patients showing this sign on scans tend to develop serious problems such as heart failure. It is expected that the discovery could be helpful in preventing these types of complications. Around half a million people from UK seems to have heart failures and heart attacks have been the main cause.

It is said that heart failure could make the person unable to do the daily routine tasks like climbing the stairs. The symptoms tend to take place since the heart that is damaged does not have adequate strength to pump in blood efficiently in the body which makes the person breathless, untreated and tired. This could lead to the fluid accumulating in the legs and the lungs. Drugs are available which need to be taken on a long-term basis. Some of the victims having heart failure may also need to undergo a heart surgery.

Bleeding in Heart Muscle – Complications Later

The British Heart Foundation-funded work had followed more than 200 patients to check how they had fared during the hours, weeks and months after they had been admitted to the hospital following a heart attack. Researchers presenting their work at a heart conference in Manchester conducted additional tests on the patients in the hospital. Prof Colin Berry together with his team noticed that patients having signs of bleeding in the heart muscle were likely to cultivate complications later than patients who did not seem to have this damage.

According to Prof Berry, research director at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank, Scotland, this knowledge could eventually be helpful when doctors tend to decide what kind of treatment need to be given and how long the patients should be monitored closely. He doubts the bleeds could partly be affected by the blood thinning drugs which the doctors prescribe to the patients in treating a heart attack. Heart attack tends to occur when the leading blood vessels that supply the heart tends to get blocked by a clot.

Common Symptoms of Heart Attack

Prof Berry states that the tiny blood vessels that are in the heart muscle tissue could also seem to get blocked, making them leaky. He also informs that almost half of the heart attack patients possibly seem to have some bleeding or bruising of the heart, though not all would develop heart failure.

This could explain why the patients having effective treatment for their heart attack could also continue to have contrary results. He adds that they are now aware that heart muscle bleeding is an adverse complication which needs to be avoided.

His team have now been investigating if there could be an improved option of treating patients who tend to have a more severe attack, by injecting blood thinning or clot-busting drugs directly in the blood vessels of the heart instead of the intravenously, for instance. Though not the patients tend to experience the same symptoms and the common ones comprise of –
  • Chest pain which feels like pressure or squeezing and can emit from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Feeling of weakness and/or lightheaded
Urgent medical help is essential if someone tends to have an attack where prompt treatment could save the life of the victim.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Designer Babies - Human Cells could be Made from Scratch in ten Years

Designer Babies

Recreating Complete Human Cells – Genome

A milestone plan in recreating complete human cells from scratch within the next ten years has been announced by the scientists and the particularly difficult project implicates blending all six billion letters of the total human DNA code known as the genome. According to researchers, if the project tends to go ahead, it would have far reaching consequences in the study of diseases like cancer as well as growing replacement organs.However, the work would also improve the prevailing public concerns regarding fast-track to designer babies.

Scientists have been anticipating that the accomplished DNA once made, would be implanted into living cell and it is expected to begin to divide. Scientists at this point for the first time would have created a whole human cell of their own design. Called the Human Genome Project-write – HGP-write, it would permit researchers in making synthetic human genes as well as chromosomes for their research. This would comprise chromosome 21 which is an extra copy that is responsible for Down’s syndrome. However, the repercussions may tend to go far beyond to grow organs for transplant patients and working on immunity to deadly viruses like Ebola or Zika and also developing in the lab cancer-resistant cells.

Next Step of Forming Sequencing of Human Genome

Researchers while writing in the journal Science, tend to explain that the plans in creating a synthetic genomecould be the next step in forming sequencing of the human genome that was accomplished in 2004. The authors led by Professor Jef Boeke of New York University, write that HGP-write tends to be a natural progression and will switch research from reading mode to writing. The papers of the groups tends to be following behind closed door meeting on genome editing that was held last month at Harvard Medical School in the company of scientists, entrepreneurs, lawyers and government officials though the journalist had been excluded. The main objectives outlined by the group was to reduce the cost of engineering man-made genomes in the cell, in the lab, lower the cost 1,000-crease in the coming decade and make the approach affordable.

Human Genome Project

The twenty-five experts outlining their aims stated that they primarily needed £70 million funding in order to launch the project. They informed that the final cost would be difficult to estimate though would likely be somewhat more than £2 billion being the cost of the Human Genome Project.

Boeke had stated that the technology needed to create the human genome can be used also in constructing animal as well as plant genomes like those of pigs and mice. Probable applications would comprise being capable of growing human organs for transplantation, in pigs.

Guidelines outlined in the recent papers, indicate that the early stages would envisage various pilot projects done in exploring techniques and make small portions of the genome, a total of around 1%. But the authors have described that it would need public involvement as well as concern of legal, ethical as well as social effects from the beginning. The main debate against research into editing of human genome is that any changes could be passed to the future generations via the germ line in sperm and egg cells. Towards the end of 2015, this had led the scientists to call for a standstill on the tinkering with DNA of any cell that can be inherited by the next generation. This had been demonstrated by a Chinese team earlier in the year, in non-viable human embryos.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Unveiling the Hidden Layers of Deep Learning

Credit:Daniel Smilkov and Shan Carter

Basic Structure/Function of Neural Networks

Computer scientist Yoshua Bengio, in a recent Scientific American article entitled `Springtime for AI – The Rise of Deep Learning, has explained why complex neural networks tend to be vital to true artificial intelligence since people have long imagined it. It tends to be reasonable that the way to make computers equally smart like the humans is to program them to performlike human brains. But considering how little we tend to know how the brain seem to function, the task looks to be more than a little overwhelming.

This conception by Jen Christiansen tends to clarify the basic structure as well as the function of neural networks. These so-called `hidden layers’, tend to play a main role in breaking down visual components in decoding the image as a whole. It is a known fact that there is an order to how the layers tend to act from input to output, each layer seem to handle progressively complex information.

However, beyond this the hidden layers, as their name recommends tend to be masked in mystery. Daniel Smilkov and Shan Carter created a neural network playground, as part of a recent collective project known as Tensor Flow, which targets in elucidating the hidden layers by enabling users to interact as well as experiment with them.

Tensor Flow – Open Source Tool for Neural Networks

There seems to be a lot going on in visualization and Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg, who is part of the team behind Tensor Flow, a much more complex and an open source tool in using neural networks in real-world application had explained some of it in their keynote talk at the OpenVisConf. Instead of something as complicated as faces, the neural network playground tends to utilise blue and orange points dispersed within a field to teach the machine how to find and echo patterns.

Users have the option of selecting various dot-arrangements of various degrees of complexity and deploy the learning system with the addition of new hidden layers and new neurons in each layer. Every time the user tends to use the `play’ button, they can observe as the background colour ascent shifts to approximate the arrangement of blue and orange dots. As the pattern seem to get more complex, extra neurons and layers support the machine in ending the task effectively.

Expressive Features – Connections among Neurons

In addition to the neuron layers, the machine also has other expressive features like the connections among the neurons. The connection seems either blue or orange lines, blue which is positive, where the output for each neuron is the same as its content while orange being negative, means the output is the opposite of each neuron’s values.

Moreover, the thickness as well as the opacity of the connection lines specifies the confidence of the prediction that each neuron tends to make, just like the connections in our brain that strengthens as we progress through a learning procedure. But interestingly as we tend to improve at building neural networks for machines, we may end up disclosing information on how our own brains tend to function.

 Visualizing as well as playing with the hidden layers seems like a wayof simplifying this process and also in making the perception of deep learning available to a broader audience.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Texting While Driving Might Derail Your Brain's 'Autopilot’


Researchers Study – Risks of Texting & Driving

Researchers of University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute are making attempts in studying on countless things which could distract you while driving and which distractions could be riskier than others. In a latest study which has been sponsored partly by Toyota Class Action Settlement Safety Research and Education program, it has been observed how drivers managed when distracted by preoccupied thoughts, text messages and emotions.

Authors observed that when several studies had discovered the risks of texting and driving, there was less research on how other types of stressor could disturb your behaviour at the wheel. However, their results show that the most awful type of distraction could be checking the phone. The researchers discovered that people, who tend to drive being distracted or emotional, benefitted from a `sixth sense’ instinct which helped in navigating safely. In the meanwhile those who tend to text while driving did not experience the same defence. For research, 59 drivers had navigated a virtual stretch of highway four times, once under normal condition, once when they had been asked cognitively interesting questions, once when they were asked emotionally charged questions and once when they had been distracted through text.

Intervention of Brain – Anterior Cingulate Cortex - ACC

The researchers measured the sweat under the nose of the drivers, each time, which was an indicator of their stress level, how nervous their steering became and if or not they drifted out of their lane. The three kinds of distractions all seemed to heighten the perinasal perspiration levels of the driver, causing them to be more nervous.

 However when the drivers had been asked cognitively challenging as well as emotional rousing questions, they were capable of maintaining a straight course though texting led them to deviate out of their lane. Ioannis Pavlidis, PhD and Robert Wunderlich, lead researchers, guess that the paths of the drivers tend to remain straight under cognitive and emotional stress due to the intervention of a part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex – ACC.

This tends to provide a fight or flight reflex. Pavlidis has stated that there is corrective action precipitated for sure from some brain centre possibly the ACC when one is distracted while performing a routine handy task, driving in this situation. When this distraction is purely mental, this corrective mechanism tends to work well.

ACC Needs Eye-Hand Coordination

However to do its job, your ACC needs eye-hand coordination.Wunderlich explains that `it appears that an eye-hand feedback loop is essential for the brain to be capable of accomplishing these corrections. The feedback loop gets disrupted when one looks at the phone.

Pavlidis further explains that when there is a physical distraction either by itself or in addition to mental distraction, the corrective mechanism seems to break down. The purpose is that the corrective function is subject to the physical resources, eyes and hands in this situation, to keep performing its auto-pilot task. All this indicates that reading as well as responding to messages on the road is considered as dangerous as one thought or could be much more.

Finding a New Physician or Surgeon

If you have recently moved to Harris County, Texas, then remember to take care of your health by finding a new physician. A variety of Cypress doctors are listed at CyFair Medical Partners. You can use drop-down menus to search for a physician by medical specialty, gender, name or language spoken. This makes it easy for you to select a medical practice where a physician can communicate with you in a language such as Chinese, Hindi, Spanish or English.

A Family Physician Cares for all Age Groups 

When you are seeking a new physician, you may want to see a specialist. CyFair Medical Partners has a list of family physicians ready to examine and treat a wide variety of age groups. This makes it easy for parents and children to visit a physician’s office on the same day rather than visiting multiple medical facilities.

You can find a Pediatrician for Your Children

Alternatively, if you have children, then you might want to visit a pediatrician instead who has more knowledge about working with infants and toddlers. A pediatrician’s office will have specialized equipment that is designed especially for children, and this is an excellent choice when you have a child with a chronic medical condition.

Find an Obstetrician during Pregnancy 

Women who are pregnant will need to find an obstetrician who understands how to monitor a fetus’s health along with helping her with medical problems such as gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia or other high-risk conditions. Most obstetricians also provide gynecological care to a woman after she has her baby.

Look for a Surgeon when You need an Operation

If you need to have some minor surgery to repair a problem such as a bad knee joint or removal of a skin growth, then finding a general surgeon at CyFair Medical Partners is easy by looking at its website. A general surgeon can examine you to arrange a surgical procedure or to refer you to another surgeon for a specialty procedure.

Finding a Specialist to Test You for Allergies

When you have problems with allergies after moving to Texas, then you need to visit an ear, nose and throat physician to have an examination along with allergy testing. At Cyfair Medical Partners, there are ear, nose and throat specialists listed who are accepting new patients at their facilities.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Treating Psychiatric Disorders Through Neuron Stimulation


Psychiatric Disorders – Deeper Understandings of Electrical Signals in Brain

It is said that 1 out of 5 veterans returning from war tend to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Their present choices for treatment are a combination of behavioural therapy together with medicine.

However, the same does not address the electrical circuitry at work in the brain which the scientist anticipates would offer a much accurate choice for treatment. Dr Darin Dougherty, director of the division of neurotherapeutics and the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital had informed that they have focused on the chemical side since the mid-20th century, they had begun to develop the first medications which had affected neurotransmitters and the other side, the electrical had been less exploited as a treatment prospective.

Dougherty together with the others have been working to bring about the change. Scientists have been working to build new ways of treating psychiatric disorders like PTSD, through deeper understandings of the electrical signals in our brains, with finance from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA’s biological technologies office stated that what really boils down to is precision interaction with neurons of the brain that are involved in neuropsychiatric illness.

Deep-Brain Stimulation

Patients have already been utilising early models like deep-brain stimulation which has been approved by FDA for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and as obsessive compulsive disorder. Liss Murphy who had a first-hand experience informs that she had a deep-brain stimulation device implanted 10 years ago for the treatment of severe depression and now calls it a lifesaver after an incidence of depression which had begun in 2004. Murphy had informed that nothing could shift it and she had a resume of around seven pages of all the drugs she had tried.

She then did 30 rounds of electroconvulsive therapy and that too did nothing and it just got worse than before. Murphy, decided to try deep-brain stimulation, out of choice, which is not FDA approved for depression which is a serious process, needing brain surgery to be put in place. Murphy had stated that brain surgery tends to sound dramatic, severe and intense. Her highest hope that day was that she would die on the table and it was going to be her last shot. She would do it and if it did not work, she could say that she had tried everything.

Medtronic – Sends Constant Electrical Charge to Brain

However, Murphy informed that it worked. The device developed by Medtronic tends to send a constant electrical charge to the brain. The latest prototypes worked on would be a closed loop system, sensing misfires amid neurons and sending remedial charges whenever essential. It could be an uphill battle and earlier studies of the current deep-brain stimulation devices had failed to show improvement in treatment-resistant depression.

However, researchers such as MGH’s Dougherty stated that they hope the next generation of devices would present a complete new set of choices for psychiatric disorders. Murphy informs that she intends wearing her device for the rest of her life. She added that the quality of life is much better and very different. Just this calmness of `OK, this is what life is like. It’s not feeling anything all the time or a complete void, I was content’.