Medicine (category filter × )

Anesthesia's effect on consciousness solved, settling century-old scientific debate
  • After 5 years of experiments, scientists may have found a pathway that is used for brain functions that are beyond consciousness.
  • It’s the result of studying how, exactly, anesthesia makes us unconscious, which scientists haven’t been able to explain for 175 years.
  • But, thanks to advancements in cell biology and microscope technology, a team of scientists was finally able to answer the longstanding riddle.
  • They were able to find that anesthesia works in a two-step process that starts with cell membrane lipids, and then moves further through cell membrane “gates”.
  • Verified in fruit flies, the finding is only a foundation - it will take a lot more work to fully understand this previously unknown mechanism.

Green method could enable hospitals to produce hydrogen peroxide in house
  • In recent COVID news, Hydrogen Peroxide has been showing promise as a good disinfectant for medical equipment.
  • Hydrogen peroxide has a short shelf-life, and it breaks down into water and oxygen often before the bottle is open, so there’s a need for a different production process.
  • One team of scientists was working on such a process right at the time that COVID hit—it was for battery recycling, so they had to rework it for potential use in hospitals.
  • The method uses the two-electron oxygen reduction reaction, and relies on a special catalyst developed by the scientists, made of partially-oxidized carbon nanotubes.
  • If successful, this could be a great way for hospital staff to produce hydrogen peroxide on-location, at lower costs than buying it from industrial factories.

Loss of Smell and Taste Validated as COVID-19 Symptoms in Patients with High Recovery Rate
  • Study shows that “if you have smell and taste loss, you are more than 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 infection than other causes of infection.”
  • Fever is the most common first sign, but this follows as another very common initial symptom.
  • The study was based on surveying 1,480 patients with flu-like symptoms and COVID concerns, who were tested at UC San Diego Health from March 3 through March 29.
  • The results show that loss of smell and taste is specific to COVID, but also that most people regain their senses, and it happens quickly.
  • Study authors hope that these findings will convince doctors and institutions around the world to use smell and taste loss as a screening measure for COVID.

Air pollution linked to dementia and cardiovascular disease
  • Researchers followed 3,000 adults (74 y-o average) for up to 11 years to study the link between air pollution and dementia.
  • Notably, the study took place in Stockholm, where the air pollution levels are generally lower compared to international standards.
  • The study showed that even low pollution can increase the risk of developing dementia in people who have pre-existing heart disease.
  • Nearly all association of air pollution with dementia seemed to be accompanied by cardiovascular disease.
  • These conclusions provide new insights into treating dementia, and show that decreasing air pollution is important.

“Living drug factories” might treat diabetes and other diseases
  • New medical device might make it possible to transport healing cells into your body without alarming your immune system—so far it’s only been tested in mice.
  • It comes as an alternative to islet cell transplant, a treatment for diabetes that is hard to apply because the patient’s immune system often rejects it.
  • When put into diabetic mice, the device remained viable for five months, with the cells constantly producing the drugs that the mice needed.
  • The device is built from a silicon-based, flexible polymer with a membrane that lets oxygen and nutrients into the device, and it’s coated with a drug called THPT.
  • This is an important step for biocompatible treatments, however there was no information about when it would be tested in humans.




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