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COMPAMED Newsletter

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Image: close-up of the binary code; Copyright: Prod

A molecular label: traceability for medical implants


A team of researchers at CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université and Université Paris 13 has demonstrated effective molecular labelling to unequivocally identify biomedical implants, even after a prolonged period inside the living being. These results were published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition on July 5, 2018.
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Image: man touching a prosthetic hand equipped with the e-dermis; Copyright: Larry Canner/JHU

New 'e-dermis' brings sense of touch to prosthetic hands


Amputees often experience the sensation of a "phantom limb" – a feeling that a missing body part is still there. That sensory illusion is closer to becoming a reality thanks to a team of engineers at the Johns Hopkins University that has created an electronic skin. When layered on top of prosthetic hands, this e-dermis brings back a real sense of touch through the fingertips.
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Image: headset; Copyright: UTA

New headset scans the user's eye movements


People with disabilities such as ALS, spinal injury or Lou Gehrig's disease, often lose use of their legs, arms or hands. Even at advanced stages of the disease, one may still retain movement in their eyes. Some technologies have incorporated eye-tracking to enable disabled persons to interact with a computer to communicate messages to a caregiver.
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Image: Showing how gold nanoparticles trigger sequential unfolding of 3D structures; Copyright: Sumeet Mishra

Using gold nanoparticles to trigger sequential unfolding of 3D structures


Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that takes advantage of gold nanoparticles to trigger the sequential unfolding of three-dimensional structures using different wavelengths of light.
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Graphic: Graphic showing how the electrically conductive hydrogel sends different data on different facial expressions; Copyright: 2018 KAUST

Electronic skin stretched to new limits


An electrically conductive hydrogel that takes stretchability, self-healing and strain sensitivity to new limits has been developed at KAUST. "Our material outperforms all previously reported hydrogels and introduces new functionalities," says Husam Alshareef, professor of materials science and engineering.
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Photo: low-impedance, transparent graphene microelectrode array; Copyright: Yichen Lu/Advanced Functional Materials

A sprinkle of platinum nanoparticles onto graphene makes brain probes more sensitive


Graphene electrodes could enable higher quality imaging of brain cell activity thanks to new research by a team of engineers and neuroscientists at the University of California San Diego.
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Image: detailed picture of the smart stent; Copyright: University of British Columbia

'Smart stent' detects narrowing of arteries


For every three individuals who have had a stent implanted to keep clogged arteries open and prevent a heart attack, at least one will experience restenosis - the renewed narrowing of the artery due to plaque buildup or scarring - which can lead to additional complications.
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Image: smiling man - Jörg Standfuss at the injector; Copyright: Paul Scherrer Institute/Mahir Dzambegovic

Biological light sensor filmed in action


Using X-ray laser technology, a team led by researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI has recorded one of the fastest processes in biology. In doing so, they produced a molecular movie that reveals how the light sensor retinal is activated in a protein molecule. Such reactions occur in numerous organisms that use the information or energy content of light.
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Image: young woman in front of a laptop, filming her hand movements; Copyright: Oliver Dietze

A webcam is enough to produce a real-time 3D model of a moving hand


Capturing hand and finger movements within milliseconds is becoming increasingly important for many applications, from virtual reality to human-machine interaction and Industry 4.0. So far, it has required enormous technical effort, which in turn has limited the possible applications.
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Image: Resonator Outcoupler Microscopy (PROM) image that highlights focal adhesions of live dental stem cells; Copyright: Yue Zhuo/Brian Cunningham

Novel microscopy technique developed to analyze cellular focal adhesion dynamics


Focal adhesions are large specialized proteins that are located in the area where a cell membrane meets the extracellular matrix (ECM), a collection of molecules surrounding the cells that provide support and regulate micromechanical signals to the cells.
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Image: scientist holding a multiwall plate containing hydrogels with pancreatic islet cells; Copyright: Georgia Tech

Biomaterial particles educate immune system to accept transplanted islets


By instructing key immune system cells to accept transplanted insulin-producing islets, researchers have opened a potentially new pathway for treating type 1 diabetes. If the approach is ultimately successful in humans, it could allow type 1 diabetes to be treated without the long-term complications of immune system suppression.
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Image: smiling team of scientists; Copyright: Asociación RUVID

Intelligent headphones to measure hearing capacity and adjust the volume automatically


The device could also detect the appearance of pathologies such as the initial stages of otitis. With the project, UPV students were among the First European University Design Contest winners.
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Image: surface of the enzyme levansucrase; Copyright: AK Seibel

New technology for enzyme design


Scientists at the University of Würzburg have chemically modified the enzyme levansucrase using a new method. The enzyme can now produce sugar polymers that are exciting for applications in the food industry and medicine.
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Image: the lipid bilayer used as a platform for capturing viruses; Copyright: University of Twente

Virus detector based on lifelike interaction


In order to detect an influenza virus successfully, even in small concentrations, you would like to know in what way the virus interacts with healthy cells. Researcher Mark Verheijden of the University of Twente succeeded in mimicking the cell surface on a sensor.
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Image: NTU researchers holding the cream containing the new nanoflares; Copyright: NTU Singapore

New nanoparticles help to detect serious scarring of wounds


A new way of seeing when heavy wound scars are forming, and providing doctors the chance to intervene, has been developed by scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)andNorthwestern University in the United States.
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Image: Schematic representation of the artificial enzyme that activates gene switches; Copyright: Universität Basel, Yasunori Okamoto

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch


Complex reaction cascades can be triggered in artificial molecular systems: Swiss scientists have constructed an enzyme than can penetrate a mammalian cell and accelerate the release of a hormone. This then activates a gene switch that triggers the creation of a fluorescent protein. The findings were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and ETH Zurich.
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Image: HeLa cells with a substance labelled with a fluorescent red dye; Copyright: L. Rakers et al./Cell Chem Biol

Investigating cell membranes: substance mimicking a vital membrane component


In an interdisciplinary collaboration, researchers at the University of Münster have developed a method of visualizing an important component of the cell membrane in living cells. Therefore, they synthesized a family of new substances. The study has been published in Cell Chemical Biology.
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Image: Corneal topography before and after the treatment; Copyright: Sinisa Vukelic/Columbia Engineering

Columbia engineers invent a noninvasive technique to correct vision


New method uses a low-powered ultrafast laser and relies on photochemical effects to alter biochemical and biomechanical properties of collagenous tissue without causing cellular damage or tissue disruption.
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Image: green iris and pupil, enlarged by a magnifying glass; Copyright:

New system allows trainee doctors to use virtual reality to learn eye examination diagnoses


Academics have created a new virtual reality tool which allows medical students to replicate eye examinations and learn first-hand how to diagnose hard-to-spot conditions which may otherwise go unnoticed.
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Image: woman applying sun screen on her leg; Copyright:

New material detects the amount of UV radiation and helps monitor radiation dose


UV radiation is known to cause many skin and eye diseases such as cancer. Therefore, it is essential to have a simple method for detecting the quantity and quality of UV radiation from, for example, the Sun.
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Image: illustration of a 3D printer producing a simplified heart; Copyright:

Germans open to the idea of 3D printed organs


Final results from BR, ARTE and Fraunhofer IAO's "Homo Digitalis" study.
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Image: false-color image of artificial cells in a range of structures; Copyright: Imperial College London

Mini tractor beams help arrange artificial cells into tissue structures


Researchers have used lasers to connect, arrange and merge artificial cells, paving the way for networks of artificial cells that act like tissues.
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Image: the BxPC-3-KRASWT cell line under the microscope; Copyright: Kota et. al./The Scripps Research Institute

Tumor-like spheres help scientists discover smarter cancer drugs


Cancer is a disease often driven by mutations in genes. As researchers learn more about these genes, and the proteins they code for, they are seeking smarter drugs to target them. The ultimate goal is to find ways to stop cancer cells from multiplying out of control, thereby blocking the growth and spread of tumors.
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Image: a tumor in green generated with the newly developed technique; Copyright: Jan Laufer

3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method


Making tumour cells glow: Medical physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg have developed a new method that can generate detailed three-dimensional images of the body's interior. This can be used to more closely investigate the development of cancer cells in the body. The research group presents its findings in Communication Physics.
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Image: analysis tool - cmpared to OpenMS and industry standard MaxQuant, IonStar lowered the amount of missing data; Copyright: Jun Qu

New tool analyzes disease and drug effects with unprecedented accuracy and consistency


IonStar could upend industry standards, and quicken medical diagnosis and drug development.
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Image: A topographical view of the mesh capable of growing neurons; Copyright: Mark Del Borgo

Building better beta peptides


Designing bioscaffolds offers bioengineers greater flexibility when it comes to tissue engineering and biomedicine. Systems that use self-assembling peptides can create a variety of materials. Beta peptides have especially become a key tool in building more robust biomaterials.
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Image: man wearing glasses - Prof. Wilhelm Röll; Copyright: UKB

Heartbeat out of sync


Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias often occur after a heart attack, as the scar tissue can interfere with the spread of electrical impulses that activate the heart.
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Image: Brett Byram explaining something to his collegues; Copyright: Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt University

Ultrasound helmet would make live images, brain-machine interface possible


Ultrasound technology for the brain could mean real-time images during surgery, a better idea of which areas get stimulated by certain feelings or actions and, ultimately, an effective way for people to control software and robotics by thinking about it.
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Image: wristband; Copyright: University of South Florida

New movement monitoring system to prevent falls


Technology that allows BMW's assembly lines to run more efficiently is now being used to accurately indicate when residents in Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are at increased risk of falling.
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Image: man playing Tic Tac Toe with the robotic system; Copyright: Ben-Gurion University

First robotic system plays tic tac toe to improve task performance


Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel have demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of a robotic system that plays Tic Tac Toe with rehabilitation patients to improve real-life task performance.
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Image: robotic hand next to a human hand; Copyright:

Luke Skywalker's hand inspires scientists to create robotic skin


Scientists at the University of Bristol are engineering human skin on artificial robotic muscles that can stretch and bend the tissue just like in the real world. This living and moving skin equivalent represents a much more realistic model of human skin and it could have potential applications for burns patients needing skin grafts.
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Image: the words 3D printing on a blue and green background; Copyright:

3-D printing is transforming care for congenital heart disease


3-D printing is an emerging technology that is impacting the way cardiologists treat patients with congenital heart disease (CHD), according to a review paper published today in JACC: Basic to Translational Science.
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Image: an array of semitransparent organic pixels on top of a ultrathin sheet of gold; Copyright: Thor Balkhed

Organic printing inks may restore sight to blind people


A simple retinal prosthesis is being developed in collaboration between Tel Aviv University in Israel and Linköping University in Sweden. Fabricated using cheap and widely-available organic pigments used in printing inks and cosmetics, it consists of tiny pixels like a digital camera sensor on a nanometric scale. Researchers hope that it can restore sight to blind people.
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Image: patients perform various everyday tasks with a sensory control module integrated with his prosthetic arm; Copyright: Aadeel Akhtar, University of Illinois

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds


Losing an arm doesn't have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback.
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Image: x-ray image of a knee; Copyright: UPM

Enhanced human body response to implants


UPM researchers have developed a new surface treatment that, applied to biomaterials, will allow us to reduce the implant rejection by our body. This will extend the prosthesis life and thus increase the quality of life of patients.
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Image: red and yellow image with the writing

New microscope reveals biological life as you've never seen it before


Astronomers developed a "guide star" adaptive optics technique to obtain the most crystal-clear and precise telescopic images of distant galaxies, stars and planets. Now a team of scientists, led by Nobel laureate Eric Betzig, PhD, are borrowing the very same trick.
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Image: laptop and wired devices on a table from above; Copyright: SUSU Institute of Sport, Tourism and Service

Non-contact ECG T-shirt patented by SUSU scientists


Every day athletes experience serious physical loads, that is why it is important for them to constantly monitor their health status. To obtain indices of the functional state of athletes in a distance mode and at all training periods, the scientists of South Ural State University have created a system of simplified and continuous electrocardiogram tracing.
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Image: 3-D rendering of a novel bone-fixing composite in yellow; Copyright: Bryant Heimbach/UConn

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite


University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
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Image: smiling woman and man holding a golden cup; Copyright: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Spectacle lens designed by PolyU slows myopic progression by 60 percent


A specially designed spectacle lens developed by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) was found to have slowed down myopia progress by 60% in participating children, and 21.5% of them had their myopic progression halted completely. This lens will be launched in summer this year, offering a non-contact, spectacle lens solution to myopic children.
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Image: Microscopic image of the encapsulated cells; Copyright: KTH

Newly-developed permeable capsule could be packed with cells that fight cancer


One way that cancer may be fought in the future is with micro-sized capsules containing living cells engineered to secrete toxins that attack cancer cells. Although the science of cell micro-encapsulation has yet to overcome certain limitations, recent developments in Sweden might finally offer a way forward.
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Image: two scientists in front of ATLAS, the high-performance laser in LMU's Laboratory for Extreme Photonic; Copyright: Thorsten Naeser

Laser-based x-ray imaging picks up speed


Using a novel, laser-based X-ray technique, laser physicists in Garching have imaged a bone sample in three dimensions by microtomography within minutes, thus taking a significant step towards the medical application of the technology.
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