Biotechnology has taken off in the past few months with a massive number of innovations and advancements hitting the market by the second. There is a huge necessity for high-tech machines and tools in the lives of people suffering from various disorders and for the general well being of the society. So huddle up, lovers of Biology, as we talk about some innovations that have taken the medical world by storm.
This medical-grade smartwatch is designed for patients with neurological conditions. It is specifically capable of detecting epileptic seizures. The device has been provided with a sensor which not only tracks the standard measurements as any other fitness band, but also detects surges in skin conductance and disturbances in the nervous system that are triggered during an epileptic attack. During an attack, the device vibrates and an alert gets sent via Bluetooth to the wearer’s smartphone. The app then sends a distress signal either through a text message or phone call to one or more pre-specified contacts.
When tested on 135 monitored patients, the device correctly identified nearly every single seizure. It boasts of a false alarm rate below that of the seizure frequency for most individuals. The subscription plans for the service start at about US $9 per month and the hardware costs $249. Despite being expensive, the Embrace smartwatch is truly a boon for people with weak neurological reflexes and is a wise investment.
Scientists have come up with revolutionary nanorobots designed to fight cancer by shrinking the tumors using a mechanism to cut off their blood supply. These robots are manufactured from flat, rectangular DNA origami sheets having thrombin attached to the surface which naturally blocks tumor blood flow by clotting the blood within the vessels that feed tumor growth. This leads to the death of the tumor tissue hence relieving patients of their symptoms.
“We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy,” said Hao Yan from Arizona State University (ASU) in the US. Moreover, the developers promise to cure different forms of cancer using this technology as all solid tumor feeding blood vessels are essentially the same.
The robot is fast, effective and efficient and its ability to cure a disease as terminal as cancer makes it a huge scientific breakthrough.
TRANSCRANIAL DIRECT CURRENT STIMULATION (tDCS):
These are weak electrical stimulations given to the speech region of the brain (frontal lobe of the dominant hemisphere) which aim at enhancing the benefits of speech therapy for those who stutter. The technique is shown to have improved speech fluency in people who have a developmental speech condition. Moreover, hobbyists and athletes are already using tDCS to boost their memory, learning, and creativity.
A study was conducted on 30 participants for 5 days where few of them were given tDCS and the rest of them were given sham stimulations. Participants who received the tDCS showed significant reductions in their stuttering severity, both one week and six weeks after the intervention, whereas those who got the sham treatment experienced little to no change.
Although the treatment is increasingly gaining recognition, it still needs a lot of work and research. Certain aspects like the period for which the effect of the treatment stays and the exact ways in which the treatment works remain a question mark and need to be looked upon.
University of Tokyo researchers have designed an e-skin that can measure vital signs like your heartbeat and display them in real time on a skin display. The skin is made from breathable nano mesh electrodes and stretchable wiring with an array of micro LEDs which output basic images associated with your body. The sensor can be paired with a smartphone and can transmit its info on cloud too.
The skin aims at replacing the bulky devices that constantly requires close inspection with an innovation that provides a health status broadcast to family members who can carry on with their lives relatively unhindered. This is especially helpful for home care patients.
The device, with a few improvements in coverage area and reliability is estimated to be released in a span of some months.
CYBERDYNE’S HYBRID ASSISTIVE LIMB(HAL):
Majority of the lower limb disabilities are caused by disconnections between the brain’s impulse and the resulting muscle movements. Cyberdyne have developed an enhanced and friendly version of an exoskeleton that constantly helps the user re-establish these connections. Through the process that the researchers at Cyberdyne call “The interactive biofeedback loop”, HAL intercepts the brain’s impulses that the muscles don’t respond to and it helps in the corresponding movements. This enhances the learning process and helps the brain and muscles in coordination. Furthermore, this robot can be easily operated and is very helpful and efficient.
The company has gotten approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin offering HAL(Hybrid Assistive Limb) lower-body exoskeleton to users in the United States through licensed medical facilities and hopes to expand its reach in the coming years.