Test Can Calculate A Person’s Chances Of Waking From A Coma

Test Can Calculate A Person’s Chances Of Waking From A Coma

We all know that 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, and now it turns out the same number also holds the key to human consciousness. Researchers have discovered that by measuring the metabolic activity of a person’s brain while in a coma, they can accurately determine whether they are brain dead or still functional – and that 42 percent is the minimum le... »

Google Tracks The Benefit Of Vaccinations

Google Tracks The Benefit Of Vaccinations

A study of Google searches for the word “chickenpox” has demonstrated the effectiveness of vaccination against the disease. Where the varicella vaccine has become part of the standard childhood immunization schedule, search rates drop dramatically. Varicella zoster, better known as chickenpox, was once so common that it wasn’t taken seriously. However, it is occasionally very serious and the... »

The protein can target specific neurons and synapses. vitstudio/Shutterstock

Newly Created Protein Can Turn Brain Connections On And Off To Alter Cognitive Function

Scientists have developed a protein that can temporarily turn specific brain connections on and off, by destroying the connections between individual neurons. Using this new tool, researchers may one day be able to develop new treatments for cognitive disorders that precisely target the faulty brain connections, rather than using risky medications that often produce an array of nasty side-effects.... »

These tiny implants can attract and capture cancer cells. Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering , CC BY-NC-ND

Catching Metastatic Cancer Cells Before They Grow Into Tumors: A New Implant Shows Promise

“Cure” is a word that’s dominated the rhetoric in the war on cancer for decades. But it’s a word that medical professionals tend to avoid. While the American Cancer Society reports that cancer treatment has improved markedly over the decades and the five-year survival rate is impressively high for many cancers, oncologists still refrain from declaring their cancer-free patients cured. Why? Patient... »


Researchers Create DNA “Tape Recorder” To Track Individual Cell’s Development

Researchers have created a “genetic tape recorder” that allows them to trace backwards through an individual cell’s history and figure out its exact developmental origins. This new method, which has only been made possible as a result of the relatively recent development of the powerful gene-editing technique CRISPR, has the potential to alter our perceptions and what we think we know about ... »

What Will Happen When Antibiotics Stop Working?

What Will Happen When Antibiotics Stop Working?

A golden era of antibiotics shifted the leading causes of death away from infection to cancer and cardiovascular disease. At the moment, we can still treat most infections as only a few are resistant to what is currently the last line of antibiotics – the colistins. But history shows us this will change and colistin resistance is already growing in China and the United States. While prizes are bei... »

New Blood Test Helps Doctors Choose Accurate Treatment For Depression

New Blood Test Helps Doctors Choose Accurate Treatment For Depression

UK researchers have come up with a blood test that will allow doctors to pick the most effective drug for patients experiencing depression. Writing in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, the team from Kings College London (KCL) describe how their test looks for biological markers of inflammation in the patient. These two markers – a compound called interleukin-1beta and another c... »

This Man Lived Without His Heart For Over A Year

This Man Lived Without His Heart For Over A Year

It’s been nearly 50 years since the first heart transplant and still today these surgeries remain one of the most impressive feats of biomedical science. As truly life-saving as this procedure can be, people often have to wait for months and years to be matched with a compatible donor. However, help is on hand for those stuck on endless waiting lists, in the form of total artificial hearts. Stan L... »

photo credit: While venom is normally harmful, paradoxically it may also be of therapeutic benefit. pruit phatsrivong/Shutterstock

New Technique To Analyze Venom For Medicinal Properties

We normally associate venom with death or, at the very least, excruciating pain. Produced by a whole menagerie of animals, from bullet ants to platypuses, the toxins are injected into their victim, and lead to an estimated 57,000 human deaths per year. Yet there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that we may be able to harness these chemicals not to kill people, but to heal them. Researchers... »

photo credit: Macrophages are white blood cells that engulf invading pathogens. Juan Gaertner/Shutterstock

Scientists Discover How To “Switch On” Immune Cells

The human immune system is a bit like a game of Pac-Man: it’s full of cells called macrophages, which hungrily engulf anything they can in order to clear out dead cells and invading “baddies.” However, just as Pac-Man has to eat a Power Pellet in order to be able devour the evil ghosts, so too do these immune cells need to become activated by “eating” a specific type of cell, without which they ar... »

Photo credit: A digitally colorized transmission electron micrograph of the Zika virus, here colored blue. CDC

First Direct Evidence That Zika Virus Causes Brain Damage

The Zika virus is causing global concern, and for good reason: Not only does it seem likely that 2.2 billion people are at risk from this infection, but there is mounting evidence that pregnant women suffering from the disease are at considerable risk from their offspring having microcephaly – a dramatically shrunken brain – along with other neurodegenerative traits. Although the evidence connecti... »

19 Pieces Of Non-Human DNA Found In Human Genome

19 Pieces Of Non-Human DNA Found In Human Genome

Eight percent of your DNA is alien, in that it’s made up of non-human, viral fragments. In fact, viral fragments are often hiding within the genome of anything on Earth that has a jaw and a spinal cord, which is a remarkable reminder of how they’ve shaped evolution for hundreds of millions of years. A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that we are ... »

photo credit: A link between these drugs and neurological problems seems to exist, but it's not yet definitive. VonaUA/Shutterstock

Some Hay Fever Drugs May Increase Risk Of Dementia In The Elderly

As anyone that suffers from it will know, hay fever is nothing short of profoundly irritating. Fortunately, there are a range of prescription and over-the-counter drugs you can take to remedy the problem, but as a new study shows, some of them may be causing some particularly unfortunate neurological side effects. As revealed in the journal JAMA Neurology, a class of drugs known as “anticholinergi... »

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