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‘Simulant Gel’ For Next-Generation Impact Injury Protection

Designing better protective gear against severe impacts for civilians and soldiers requires a detailed understanding of how soft tissues in the body actually respond to such impacts, whether from concussions, ballistic attacks, or blast wounds. MIT researchers are developing new synthetic polymer-solvent gels, called tissue simulant gels, which mimic the response of natural tissue.

Biological engineering graduate student Bo Qing is studying the impact of traumatic force on brain tissue from rodents and modeling synthetic substitutes to enable better insight into preventing such injuries. “If we can design a material that mimics this impact response, it would be very helpful to serve as an injury model and use to assess new protective equipment that can minimize this harm,” explains Qing, who works under MIT Associate Professor Krystyn J. Van Vliet.

“We want to study how biological tissues like the brain, heart, and liver respond to impact and then find synthetic mimics that can recapitulate those responses because they will be very helpful for the Army, for example, to devise new protective strategies and understand how injury actually occurs,” Qing says.

Common Bacteria On Verge Of Becoming Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

Antibiotic resistance is poised to spread globally among bacteria frequently implicated in respiratory and urinary infections in hospital settings, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The study shows that two genes that confer resistance against a particularly strong class of antibiotics can be shared easily among a family of bacteria responsible for a significant portion of hospital-associated infections.

Drug-resistant germs in the same family of bacteria recently infected several patients at two Los Angeles hospitals. The infections have been linked to medical scopes believed to have been contaminated with bacteria that can resist carbapenems, potent antibiotics that are supposed to be used only in gravely ill patients or those infected by resistant bacteria.

Experience Saves Lives: Study Of Advanced Life-Support Reveals Big Differences In Adult Survival Rates

An advanced form of life support that takes over for the failing hearts and lungs of critically ill patients saves lives. But for adults, the odds of surviving depend on which hospital provides the life-supporting treatment – with the best odds at ones that use the technique dozens of times a year, a new study finds.

That’s the key finding of the first large study in patients of all ages, of a life-support technology called ECMO. Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School looked at data from 56,222 patients treated at 290 hospitals around the world over 25 years.

The use of ECMO to treat adults has risen exponentially in the last decade, and grown steadily in children, the authors report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Though ECMO has existed since the 1970ss, its use has grown as technology has improved and its potential to save lives became known.

A Sign Of The Times For Hearing Impaired Patients

Harris Health System is now using sign language video technology to better communicate with its hearing-impaired and hard-of-hearing patients. Connecting patients with physicians and nurses in a timely and convenient manner is one of the driving forces behind the new portable interpretation service.

New iPad®-equipped wheeled carts (similar to rolling blood-pressure stands) act as in-person translators of American Sign Language for patients and staff at a moment’s notice. The program has four such carts complete with speakers and audio enhancement capability at Harris Health’s Ben Taub, Quentin Mease and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals.

“One of the greatest advantages of using this new technology in clinical settings is its on-demand availability,” says Graciela Zozaya, manager, Harris Health Interpretation Services. “This means less waiting time for patients and better time management efficiency for providers and staff.”

Pre-Clinical Research Validates Potential For Focused Ultrasound In Alzheimer’s

A pre-clinical study published in Science Translational Medicine suggests that focused ultrasound may hold a key to providing a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia demonstrated that combining the injection of microbubbles and applying ultrasound across the brain using a system from Philips Research reduced the number and volume of amyloid plaques in mice genetically altered to model Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, they found that treated mice had improved memory over untreated ones.

Within just a few hours of publication, the research generated interest around the world, with many leading news sources reporting on the study. “Our research was very exploratory and we really didn’t expect to see such a massive effect,” study author Jürgen Götz told Reuters. “I’m really excited by this.”

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