We’ve all heard that an aspirin a day can keep heart disease at bay. But lots of Americans seem to be taking it as a preventive measure, when many probably shouldn’t.

In a recent national survey, more than half the adults who were middle age or older reported taking an aspirin regularly to prevent a heart attack or stroke. The Food and Drug Administration only recommends the drug for people who’ve already experienced such an event, or who are at extremely high risk.

However, many of the people taking aspirin daily have never had a heart attack or stroke.

Maybe You Should Rethink That Daily Aspirin

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Mitochondria editing tried in mice

Researchers have developed a technique to edit out bits of mitochondrial DNA that could otherwise pass on incurable diseases, a study in mice shows.

Salk Institute scientists used specifically engineered molecular scissors to snip out mutations in embryos, leaving healthy DNA intact.

They hope it could one day be used to prevent human mitochondrial diseases.

But experts say though it is a “technical masterpiece”, it raises ethical and scientific challenges.

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Count the number of passes made in the video above. Missing something? Learn more about inattentional blindness.

Bioengineers have come up with an implantable sponge made of silk that they say can be used to engineer and regenerate soft tissue like skin and fat. Because it is a biocompatible and biodegradable porous material, the sponge can act like a scaffold that can be loaded with therapeutic stem cells or drugs and inserted into tissue after damage from injury or disease. 

The Tufts University team that developed it sees the silk as a possible aid to spur healing after tumors are removed or a major traumatic injury. Read the paper that was published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering and click below to watch the video describing the innovation.

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Giving newborns ‘air to breathe’

Dr Santorino Data is a paediatrician based at Mbarara University, in Uganda, about 190 miles from the capital, Kampala.

He has come up with a gadget that can help give newborn babies with breathing difficulties the urgent assistance they need.

It is called the Augmented Infant Resuscitator, or Air for short.

It is a bit of kit that is attached to a traditional resuscitation bag, and gives real-time feedback about how well the carer is resuscitating the baby.

Inventor Dr Data explains: “If the baby is not breathing you have to get a resuscitation bag to help the baby breathe. When I’m helping the baby breathe correctly, my screen is green and that is telling me my air flow is OK. But now if I cause, for example, a leak to happen, the screen goes red and it tells me there is a leak.”

That instant notification makes all the difference, since doctors have only a matter of minutes to get a baby breathing again.

Dr Data is currently working with his colleagues to try out the Air device.

Margaret Twine is a fifth-year medical student at Mbarara University. She says the best thing about the device is the simple, colour-coded warning. “Even a lay person can use it,” she says. “A red for danger and if you’re green, then you’re good to go.”

27 April 2015

Sat Nav Cells

How do we know where we are? How do we find our way around? If anyone knows the answers to these questions, it’s the Norwegian neuroscientist Edvard Moser, born on this day in 1962. Last year, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – shared with his wife May-Britt Moser and John O’Keefe – for discovering an ‘inner GPS’ in the brain. Edvard and May-Britt measured the activity of a single nerve cell – called a grid cell – in the brains of rats running around a box. They found that the grid cell fired whenever the rat crossed specific locations. These points formed a hexagonal pattern, like a honeycomb. Together, the grid cells form a spatial representation of the box. Grid cells interact with the brain region called the hippocampus (pictured, with cell nuclei coloured red), affected in Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding the brain’s positioning system may help sufferers find their way.

Written by Nick Kennedy

Image by Thomas Deerinck
NCMIR
Any re-use of this image must be authorised by Science Photo Library
Research published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, December 2013

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Asian Medical Student Association (AMSA) Pakistan organized an inter-medical college quiz competition on March 4, 2015 at Frontier Medical College in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The event was organized on a national level in collaboration with Asian Medical Student Association International, an organization that represents medical students in 16 countries throughout Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

Israel’s ‘electronic nose’ pioneer shows how nanotechnology can improve and simplify diagnosis of an often deadly cancer.

A potentially quick, simple, inexpensive and non-invasive method for identifying people at risk of stomach (gastric) cancer and finding tumors at an earlier stage has been announced by Prof. Hossam Haick at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.Haick, a professor of chemical engineering at the Technion’s Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, developed the nanotech breath-analysis system Na-Nose to detect a range of illnesses. The latest study proved its effectiveness in predicting and diagnosing gastric cancer.Writing in the prestigious journal Gut, Haick and his lab team describe how they took 968 breath samples from 484 patients, including 99 known to have gastric cancer.

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