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Medical Electrical Prescriptions

12/30/15     Seven teams of researchers have begun work on an Electrical Prescription program in hopes of developing a closed-loop system that treats diseases by modulating the activity of peripheral nerves. This research is aimed to help conditions like inflammatory disease, chronic pain and post traumatic stress.
The body’s peripheral nervous system communicates an  array of sensory and motor signals which monitor our health and effect changes in organ and brain functions in order to keep us healthy. This research program hopes to do the same by detecting the onset of disease and automatically responding to combat the issue and restore health to the body. It will accomplish this by stimulating the peripheral nerves in a similar way that the body does.
As we have blogged before, the medical field is transitioning into a ‘preventive-maintenance” system rather than a reactive one, hoping to cut medical costs across the globe and prevent many people from having to deal with a major illness.

Micro medical capsule could be life changing

12/22/15     A micro medication capsule could be life-changing for people with large intestine ailments like Crohn’s disease and irritable bobwel syndrome. Most medications are absorbed into the body through the stomach and small intestine before they make it to the large intestine, this micro capsule will open at a specific location in the GI tract, according to researchers at Purdue. The capsule is about an inch long with two compartments. One side holds the drugs. The other side contains a magnetic switch and an electrical component known as a capacitor that releases an electric charge to power the device.

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The patient would either wear a small magnet or have one implanted near where their large and small intestine meet.  When the capsule comes within range of this magnet, it triggers the capsule to open and release the drug. As of right now this process has been tested in a simulated digestive tract and researchers hope to see it move on to human clinical trials soon.  Once the device is perfected, it could help a host of GI-tract problems.

Separating Nanoparticles with New Technology

12/15/15     A new chip-based technology that can quickly isolate drug-carrying nanoparticles from the blood has been developed by a team of engineers at the University of California.
Nanoparticles are difficult to separate from the blood component because of their extreme low density and small size in comparison to blood plasma. Scientists generally separate them from blood plasma by diluting the plasma, adding a highly concentrated sugar solution and then spinning the mixture in a centrifuge. Unfortunately this process either alters the normal behavior of the nanoparticles or it can’t be applied to all types of nanoparticles.

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However, this new chip design overcomes these shortcomings and uses an oscillating electric field to separate drug-delivery nanoparticles from blood. The separated nanoparticles get accumulated on the ring of the chip. The chip contains hundreds of electrodes that generate the oscillating electric field. During the study, the researchers demonstrated the recovery of nanoparticles from a drop of plasma spiked with it. Science 2.0 reports that the recovery took place in 7 minutes and the technique seems to work on different types of drug-delivery nanoparticles commonly used.
Researchers are hopeful that this technology will enable them to design new drug-delivery systems and mechanisms. Plus, with the help of this technique, the researchers will also be able to monitor the movement of nanoparticles in the bloodstream.