Flying transplant kidneys by drone

Photo by Dr. J. Scalea, via University of Maryland Medical Center
Photo by Dr. J. Scalea, via University of Maryland Medical Center

When kidneys are harvested for transplant, they need to be immediately transported under strict temperature control to another hospital for implantation. Common issues like traffic jams or accidents can keep those kidneys from being used. Now a team led by Dr. Joseph Scalea of the University of Maryland Medical Center has done a trial flight of a kidney on a DJI M600 Pro drone to see if drones could be used to quickly fly kidneys and other organs between hospitals. Continue reading “Flying transplant kidneys by drone”

Robo-sperm could enable targeted drug delivery in humans ↗️

Via LiveScience:

Scientists in the United Kingdom have turned to the humble human sperm in their quest to design the ultimate swimming robot.

Made of a tiny magnetic head and squiggly elastic tail, the flea-size drones look and swim much like their spermy counterparts, with a few big differences: These swimmers are guided by shifting electromagnetic currents, controlled externally by scientists. Oh, and also: They won’t get you pregnant.

I love the last line: “Oh, and they won’t get you pregnant”

Decoding human mood from brain signals ↗️

From AAAS EurekAlert!

By developing a novel decoding technology, a team of engineers and physicians at the University of Southern California (USC) and UC San Francisco have discovered how mood variations can be decoded from neural signals in the human brain–a process that has not been demonstrated to date.

Their study, published in Nature Biotechnology, is a significant step towards creating new closed-loop therapies that use brain stimulation to treat debilitating mood and anxiety disorders in millions of patients who are not responsive to current treatments.

Wow, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Deanna Troi is obsolete before she’s even born!

Engineered nanosponges soak up proteins associated with rheumatoid arthritis ↗️

From AAAS Eurekalert:

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed neutrophil “nanosponges” that can safely absorb and neutralize a variety of proteins that play a role in the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Injections of these nanosponges effectively treated severe rheumatoid arthritis in two mouse models. Administering the nanosponges early on also prevented the disease from developing.

Very cool if it works in humans. My wife has suffered — and I don’t use that term lightly — from RA for almost 40 years. Being able to inject something that stops the spread of RA is a wonderful idea.

CRISPR gene editing helping puppies with muscular dystrophy ↗️

From ScienceNews:

Gene editing can reverse muscular dystrophy in dogs.

Using CRISPR/Cas9 in beagle puppies, scientists have fixed a genetic mutation that causes muscle weakness and degeneration, researchers report online August 30 in Science.

Corrections to the gene responsible for muscular dystrophy have been made before in mice and human muscle cells in dishes, but never in a larger mammal.

One step closer to treatments for humans with MD.


NASA/UT Southwestern Med Center deliver heart attack prediction app ↗️

From AAAS EurekAlert:

A team of researchers led by cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center has developed a new online tool to more accurately predict who among those ages 40-65 is at the highest risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

Measuring coronary artery calcium is among the most powerful and novel cardiovascular risk assessment tests. Until now, patients could not easily combine this measurement with traditional risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol to predict the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

ASTRO-Charm was designed to assess risk in astronauts…but now it’s available to help everyone to determine their heart attack risk.

Aging? Overweight? Scuba diving could cause a heart attack ↗️

AAAS EurekAlert:

“Cardiac issues are now a leading factor in diving fatalities,” said study author Dr Peter Buzzacott, of the University of Western Australia, in Crawley, Australia. “Divers who learned to dive years ago and who are now old and overweight, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are at increased risk of dying.”

Want to keep scuba diving as you get older? Lose weight, get into shape, and have routine fitness assessments with a doctor.

As smoking wanes, these five habits are taking its place as killers ↗️

Science Alert (via Business Insider):

Cigarette smoking, one of the least healthy habits out there, is quickly disappearing in the United States. The rate of American adults who smoke has declined from 42 percent in 1965 to 15 percent in 2015. However, there are a number of risk factors taking its place, many of which stem from people’s growing preference for sedentary, isolated lifestyles. As smoking makes its exit in the US, here are the risk factors science says to keep an eye on.

Apple is right – sitting is a killer. That’s why I try to stand up when I get my hourly “ping” from the Apple Watch.