Health & Medicine

Cell mechanics – from bench to bedside

All cells generate and respond to mechanical forces. The role of mechanical forces in cell biology has been understudied, but the forces are essential components of our physiology in health and disease. For example, they are involved in pathologies such as cardiac arrhythmias, muscular dystrophy and metastatic cancer. Dr Frederick Sachs from the University at Buffalo, New York, focuses on […]

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Health & Medicine

X-ray histotomography: Characterising every cell of a whole organism

Histology is a powerful technique used to distinguish normal and abnormal cells and tissue. In practice, only a small sampling of thin, 2-dimensional slices is readily available for diagnosis. In contrast, micro-CT allows full-volume, 3-dimensional (3D) imaging of biological samples. By optimising micro-CT, a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Keith Cheng from Pennsylvania State University created X-ray histotomography, a technique […]

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Health & Medicine

Improving the iron delivery from staple food crops and food products

Dr Raymond Glahn, US Department of Agriculture and Cornell University, has pioneered several techniques to assess how much iron (Fe) is bioavailable from foods, meals and the overall diet. Such techniques are essential to identify and optimise dietary sources of Fe and alleviate iron deficiency, one of the leading global nutritional deficiencies. Staple food crops are a focus of this […]

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Health & Medicine

Headaches and neck pain: The impact of cervical anatomy

Headaches can be caused by a dysfunction in the neck. There appears to be a relationship between the movement or position of the spine and the intensity of headaches. Dr Rob Sillevis, from Florida Gulf Coast University, explored the anatomical relationship between a variety of structures in the upper cervical spine and the spinal cord. His observations could help understand how […]

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Health & Medicine

Talking about dying: How doctors and patients talk about life expectancy

When patients have life-limiting conditions, doctors need to talk with them about dying. These conversations can be difficult for doctors, patients, and patients’ family members. Professor Ruth Parry and Dr Marco Pino, from Loughborough University, analyse recordings of conversations during which patients request life expectancy estimates. They then use the findings from this research to develop training resources that can […]

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Health & Medicine

Timely insulin therapy to treat type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a tricky condition to treat. While insulin can efficiently lower blood sugar levels and protect pancreatic ꞵ-cells, it can also cause harmful side effects such as hypoglycaemia and weight gain. Severe hypoglycaemia may trigger arrhythmias and cardiovascular events. Professor Markolf Hanefeld suggests that an individualised approach to start timely insulin therapy on the basis of risk/benefit balance is […]

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Health & Medicine

How real-world experience shapes clinical practice: Following one antibiotic’s journey over time

While clinical trials are vital in getting drugs to market, these tightly-controlled studies are unable to address the diverse needs of many patients in the real world. Real-world experience research can bridge the gap between clinical trials and clinical practice. Recently, Dr Mark Redell of Melinta Therapeutics, USA, introduced a collection of research experiences on the real-world use of the […]

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Health & Medicine

Reducing risks, improving outcomes: The benefits of Patient Blood Management

While blood transfusions are generally very safe and have saved millions of lives, they carry a small risk of serious side effects. These risks can be lessened through the use of Patient Blood Management (PBM), a series of interventions that seek to minimise blood loss, prevent anaemia and reduce the need for a transfusion before, during and after major surgery. […]

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Health & Medicine

A focus on beta cell mass could help prevent type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a global health problem expected to affect nearly seven percent of the world’s population by 2035. Treatment broadly focuses on regulating glucose levels, and an increase in the range of pharmacological options means that it is usually possible to manage the condition. However, diabetes cannot be cured. Professor Yoshifumi Saisho from Keio University, Japan, advocates moving the focus […]

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Health & Medicine

Is wood ash a silent killer in sub-Saharan Africa?

Traditional cookstoves fuelled by locally sourced wood are found in homes across sub-Saharan Africa. Some 70% of the population use traditional cookstoves to burn wood, and as a result produce 19 megatonnes of ash every year across the region. The ash is generally dumped nearby or scattered on farmland, but what exactly is in the ash? Quantifying the amounts of heavy […]

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