Doing some advanced reading (or highlighting??? haha) for tomorrow’s first Parasitology lecture. I’ve had a brief encounter with parasites from last semester’s Clinical Microscopy during our lectures and lab activities on Fecalysis. I guess I better start getting used to dealing with stool samples twice a week for the next few months to get to know more about these organisms haha.

Quick DNA Tests Crack Medical Mysteries Otherwise Missed

Researchers are developing a radical way to diagnose infectious diseases. Instead of guessing what a patient might have, and ordering one test after another, this new technology starts with no assumptions.

The technology starts with a sample of blood or spinal fluid from an infected person and searches through all the DNA in it, looking for sequences that came from a virus, a bacterium, a fungus or even a parasite.

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco are reporting this week their first results from the technique, which relies on a technology calledNext Generation Sequencing.

One of their early patients is Andrea Struve, a 21-year-old San Franciscan who returned from 40 days in the Australian Outback last year with a nasty set of symptoms.

“I was in classes, sweating profusely with a fever and joint pain, and it just wasn’t fun, so that’s when I went to the doctor,” she says.

Her doctor made a bunch of educated guesses about the underlying cause, but all the tests came back negative. So physicians enrolled Struve in a study at UC San Francisco to try out a different approach.

“As opposed to the way we normally diagnose infectious disease — meaning we target a single infectious agent at a time — this test works by detecting all the DNA present in clinical samples,” says Dr. Charles Chiu, who is running the study.

Chiu extracted DNA from Struve’s blood and ran it through a superfast sequencing machine. He compared the DNA he found with a huge library of DNA sequences from all sorts of infectious agents. It turns out that she was infected with a virus related to chicken pox — one that normally causes a roseola rash in young children.

Continue reading.

Photo: Doctors used a rapid DNA test to identify a Wisconsin teen’s unusual infection with Leptospira bacteria (yellow), which are common in the tropics. (CDC/Rob Weyant)


Colorblind People See Certain Colors For The First Time Ever, Are Visibly Moved

It’s easy to take the little things for granted. Like seeing certain colors, for instance. After watching Valspar’sColor for the Colorblind,” you might just look at the world through new eyes.

Find out the science behind these incredible glasses here. 

I’m loving the current look of my study table. I recently bought a snake plant because I’ve been dying to have at least one succulent plant in my bedroom for months now haha. Now I’ve finally got one!

I also recycled an old reagent bottle and filled it with tiny scrolls of inspirational messages that our university library has been giving to the students daily.

A gravity-powered chip that can mimic a human heartbeat outside the body could advance pharmaceutical testing and open new possibilities in cell culture because it can mimic fundamental physical rhythms, according to the Univ. of Michigan researchers who developed it.  

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For the first time ever, scientists have produced an entire limb complete with veins and muscle, in the lab.

The artificial rat limb is an exciting development for regenerative medicine as it brings us one step closer to generating fully functioning human limbs created from a patient’s own cells, which would in theory make transplants more successful.

Find out how the scientists grew the rat limb here. 


World’s first biolimb: Rat forelimb grown in the lab

The growth of a rat forelimb grown in the lab offers hope that one day amputees may receive fully functional, biological replacement limbs

IT MIGHT look like an amputated rat forelimb, but the photo above is of something much more exciting: the limb has been grown in the lab from living cells. It may go down in history as the first step to creating real, biologically functional limbs for amputees.

“We’re focusing on the forearm and hand to use it as a model system and proof of principle,” says Harald Ott of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who grew the limb. “But the techniques would apply equally to legs, arms and other extremities.”

“This is science fiction coming to life,” says Daniel Weiss at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, who works on lung regeneration. “It’s a very exciting development, but the challenge will be to create a functioning limb.”

Continue Reading.


Scientists can stream Netflix through a steak and it’s actually awesome news for doctors

Researchers at the University of Illinois successfully streamed HD video through raw meat. They placed a device on either side of a piece of meat, wirelessly transmitting the data through the meat from one device to another. This breakthrough doesn’t impact binge watchers, it impacts medical researchers and patients and here’s why.

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That Bionic Lens Promises Perfect Vision for Life
Boom! Just like that, the eyesight of an eagle.

This isn’t your normal contact lens.  In fact, it’s not a contact lens at all, but a bionic lens that adheres to the wearer’s eye and gives them vision three times better than 20/20 – for life.  Yes, you could be spotting dimes on the ground from 20 feet away when you’re 90.

According to Business Insider, the lens’ inventor, Dr. Garth Webb of Ocumetics Technology Corp, spent over eight years developing the lens with his team as part of a project that cost $3 million in funding to produce the super lens.  The lens was finally unveiled to the public last month at a cataract and refractive surgery conference.

Unlike normal contact lenses which are placed on top of the eye and then removed at the end of the day, this lens which looks like a small button, works more like a cataract surgery procedure.

”The lens is actually folded like a taco and placed in the eye using a syringe filled with a saline solution.  Then, in about 10 seconds, the bionic lens unravels over your eye by itself and your sight is ”immediately corrected”.

Boom!  Just like that you have the eyesight of an eagle.

What is even perhaps more amazing and certainly just as appealing to anybody who has qualms about going under the knife, the surgery is totally painless and only takes 8 minutes.  If perfect eyesight for life wasn’t incredible enough, the lens also eliminates the possibility of ever getting cataracts, because the bionic lens replaces the eye’s natural lenses, which decay over time.  Dr. Webb has seemingly invented a better product than nature.

No word on how much perfect vision will cost you, but Ocumetics Technology Corp hopes that after more trials the lens will be available to the public sometime in 2017.

This is Candian research, so it may take a while to trickle down to the US and other countries. Very exciting, though!

UK Woman Gets “World’s Most Advanced” Bionic Hand Replacement

A new technology has enabled a woman who was born without a right hand to ride a bike for the first time, among other new abilities.

Steeper Group, which is based in Leeds, created the “BeBionic” small hand for Nicky Ashwell, a 26-year-old from London; the company claims it is the most “anatomically accurate” out there and offers an “unrivalled level of precision and natural movements”.